Car parts distributor Transtar up for sale, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Transtar Industries Inc, a U.S. distributor of replacement car parts, is exploring a sale that it hopes could value the company at as much as $1 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

Transtar’s owner, private equity firm Friedman Fleischer & Lowe LLC, has hired investment banks Bank of America Corp and Harris Williams & Co to run an auction for the company, the people said this week.

The sources asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential. Friedman Fleischer & Lowe, Transtar and Bank of America declined to comment. A Harris Williams spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Based in Walton Hills, Ohio, Transtar distributes driveline replacement parts, kits and components used in transmission repairs. It has about 2,300 employees and more than 130 locations throughout North America.

Friedman Fleischer & Lowe acquired Transtar in 2010 for an undisclosed amount from private equity firm Linsalata Capital Partners Inc. Earlier this year, it merged Transtar with ETX Holdings Inc, a peer it acquired from industrial conglomerate Jordan Industries Inc and private equity firm The Edgewater Funds.

Transtar is the latest in a string of auto parts companies to hit the auction block. Graeme Hart, whose packaging conglomerate made him New Zealand’s richest man, is exploring a sale of his U.S. auto parts businesses, which he acquired for nearly $2 billion in 2011, Reuters reported in June.

Carlyle Group LP, Onex Corp and American Securities LLC are just some of the private equity firms that have invested in auto parts companies in recent years.

Earlier this week, American Securities filed with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering of auto parts maker Metaldyne Performance Group Inc.