| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Hedge fund owners of TI Automotive have hired the advisory arm of Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) to evaluate a range of options for the auto parts maker, including an initial public offering or a sale to private equity, according to people familiar with the matter.
TI Automotive's owners enlisted Blackstone Advisory in recent weeks to weigh competing buyout offers from Bain Capital LLC and Pamplona Capital Management LLP, and compare any deal against the merits of going public, the people said.
Some shareholders feel that they could get a higher valuation from taking TI Automotive public, instead of selling it outright, they added, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.
Any outright sale will likely have to value TI Automotive at north of $2 billion, higher than what the buyers were willing to offer, one of the people added.
TI Automotive has been working with Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) for several months to find a buyer. Blackstone was separately hired by the owners recently after takeover bids fell shy of their expectations, according to the people familiar with the matter. The review could take a few weeks.
Representatives of TI Automotive and Pamplona did not respond to requests for comment. Blackstone and Bain declined to comment.
TI Automotive, which was picked up by a consortium of funds led by Oaktree Capital Group LLC (OAK.N) and Duquesne Capital Management LLC in a 2007 debt restructuring, was put up for sale again in the summer, after a failed sale attempt in 2011.
Hedge fund veteran Stanley Druckenmiller wound down Duquesne in 2010.
TI Automotive and U.S. rival Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc (CPS.N) 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 Nick Zieminski)