Gores Group finds a buyer for Sage Auto

Clearlake Capital is buying Sage Automotive Holdings, according to Thomson Reuters Loan Pricing Corp.

Sage Auto is in the market with a $220 million loan to back its sale to Clearlake, LPC said. Thomson Reuters is the publisher of both LPC and peHUB.

The Gores Group put Sage Auto up for sale earlier this year, peHUB reported in April. Nomura advised on the process.

Greenville, South Carolina-based Sage develops and makes automotive bodycloth and headliners for car manufacturers including General Motors, Toyota and Honda. Sage produces about $42 million of EBITDA, peHUB said. Press reports pegged the sale to Clearlake at $270 million.

The Los Angeles PE firm headed by Alec Gores acquired Sage in May 2011. The investment came from Gores Group’s third fund, which collected $2 billion that year.

Clearlake, of Santa Monica, California, is an investment firm focused on private equity and special situations. The firm last year acquired Futuris, an automotive component supplier. Merv Dunn and Joe Gorga, who are Clearlake operating execs, also have deep experience in the sector, a source said.

Clearlake closed its third private equity fund at $785 million in January 2013. Fund III is generating an amazing 66.8 percent net IRR and 1.4x multiple as of March 31, according to performance data from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Executives at Clearlake declined comment. Gores and Sage could not be reached for comment.

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