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Exclusive: Bain in talks to buy TI Automotive for close to $2 billion - sources

By Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bain Capital LLC is in advanced talks to acquire auto parts supplier TI Automotive Ltd in a deal approaching $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

It is the buyout firm's second attempt to buy TI Automotive in the last two years. In late 2011, Bain was one of the three private equity firms that bid for TI Automotive, which makes fuel tanks as well as braking and powertrain components for cars and trucks. The sale process was pulled, however, amid deteriorating financing conditions, Reuters reported at the time.

The other two private equity firms that were vying for TI Automotive in 2011 were Carlyle Group LP and Pamplona Capital Management LLP.

TI Automotive, which was picked up by a consortium of funds led by Oaktree Capital Group LLC and Duquesne Capital Management LLC in a 2007 debt restructuring, was put up for sale again in the summer. Hedge fund veteran Stanley Druckenmiller wound down Duquesne in 2010.

There is no guarantee that the latest discussions with Bain will lead to a deal, the people cautioned, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

TI Automotive had reached out to other private equity firms as well as companies in its sector but found little interest, the people said. It could not be learned if Bain is the only party currently in talks with TI Automotive, which sought second-round bids by late October.

Bain and Oaktree declined to comment, while a TI Automotive representative did not respond to a request for comment.

TI Automotive, which is based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, but chartered in Britain, has earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of around $400 million, one of the people added, compared with some $250 million when it was for sale two years ago.

The hedge fund owners of TI Automotive had hoped to fetch roughly five times EBITDA, or about $2 billion, the people said.

TI Automotive and U.S. rival Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc are the world's two largest suppliers of systems that control, sense and deliver fluids and vapors in vehicles.

TI Automotive has more than 20,000 employees at 130 locations worldwide, and supplies all of the world's major automakers, according to its website.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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