DuPont car paint unit bidders team up - sources

Fri Mar 2, 2012 3:52pm EST

* Unit could be worth more than $4 bln-sources

* Initial bids for DuPont unit due March 7-sources

* About 10 PE firms interested in bidding -sources

* Blackstone, Bain team up; CD&R, CVC pair up-sources

By Michael Erman and Soyoung Kim

NEW YORK, March 2 (Reuters) - Private equity firms are teaming up to bid for chemical maker DuPont's car paint business to help shoulder the cost, which could be more than $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

A bid for the unit would likely require them to write a relatively large equity check of $1.5 billion to $2 billion, as it is still expensive for buyout firms to secure debt for deals.

Teaming up would help share that cost, prompting several buyout shops to think about forming consortia, the sources said.

The business has attracted interest from as many as 10 buyout firms, they said, adding that the field would likely narrow down to three or four consortiums. First round bids for the unit are due on March 7, the sources said.

Blackstone Group LP has already paired up with Bain Capital, while Clayton, Dubilier & Rice teamed up with CVC Capital, the sources said.

Apollo Global Management LLC, KKR & Co LP, TPG Capital LP, Carlyle Group, Onex Corp and Advent International are among the others looking at the unit, the sources said.

Some strategic buyers are considering bids as well, one source said.

DuPont could not be reached immediately for comment, while all the private equity firms declined to comment.

The performance coatings business primarily sells to Maaco and other auto paint refinishers. Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co are also key customers, although selling to so-called original equipment manufacturers is not as lucrative.

DuPont's adviser on the deal, Credit Suisse Group AG , sent out financial materials related to the unit to potentially interested parties last month, the sources said.

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