Platinum Equity seeks buyer for Keystone Automotive: sources

NEW YORK Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:52am EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private equity firm Platinum Equity is exploring a sale of Keystone Automotive Operations, which makes specialty auto parts such as grill guards, roof racks and superchargers that make cars faster and sleeker, three sources familiar with the matter said.

Platinum Equity, which acquired Keystone through an out-of-court debt restructuring in 2011, has hired investment banks Baird and UBS (UBSN.VX) to run a sale process that could fetch between $400 million and $500 million, the sources said.

Representatives for Platinum, Keystone, UBS and Baird were not immediately reached for comment. The sources declined to be named because the matter is not public.

Exeter, Pennsylvania-based Keystone sells aftermarket automotive equipment and accessories in North America, such as light truck accessories, specialty wheels, tires and suspension parts and high performance products.

Keystone changed hands among private equity owners a few times over the past decade.

Private equity firm Bain Capital LLC bought Keystone in 2003 from investors led by buyout firm Advent International for about$440.

But the company, which makes discretionary items tied to the economic cycles, grappled with the recession in the following years and Bain's equity was wiped out when Keystone agreed to an out-of-court restructuring in 2011.

Platinum Equity, one of the company's bondholders, acquired a majority interest in Keystone by converting its debt to equity.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis in New York;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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