DETROIT/NEW YORK (Reuters) – At least six potential suitors including TRW Automotive Holdings (TRW.N) have considered bidding for Delphi Corp, a day before a deadline for offers on the assets of the bankrupt auto parts maker, sources briefed on the matter said on Thursday.
Auto parts maker Federal-Mogul Corp (FDML.O), hedge fund Elliott Management and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross are considering bids that could compete with private equity firm Platinum Equity, the people said.
Livonia, Michigan-based parts supplier TRW has looked at Delphi’s books but is unlikely to submit a bid on Friday, one source said.
Appaloosa Management, which backed out of a plan to support Delphi’s emergence last year, had also considered a new bid, according to two sources, but was not expected to submit an offer according to a third source.
The people close to the Delphi sale process asked not to be identified because decisions on bids have not been finalized and the names of the potential bidders have not been released by Delphi or the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Representatives for Appaloosa could not be reached immediately for comment. Federal-Mogul, TRW Automotive, Elliott Management, Ross have declined to comment.
TRW is 45 percent owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group (BX.N). Blackstone has also been an advisor on Delphi’s debtor-in-possesion financing.
TRW bought a portion of Delphi’s North American brake manufacturing business in late 2007 and has been seen as eager to broaden its automotive safety offerings.
Elliott, which purchased a large share of Delphi’s debtor-in-possession financing in the secondary market in June, has said it would make a credit bid using the amount it is owed under Delphi’s bankruptcy loan.
Sources said the bidders have been drawn to the potential for Delphi’s international business, that has been kept out of the bankruptcy process.
Delphi, which was spun off from General Motors Corp (GMGMQ.PK) in 1999 and filed for bankruptcy in 2005, has agreed to sell most of its global operations to Platinum Equity in a deal brokered by the Obama administration.
But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain ordered Delphi in June to allow other bids that could compete with Platinum’s offer, and set a Friday deadline for bids on Delphi.
Delphi has said there were several potential suitors but declined to identify them.
An auction will take place on July 17 if any other qualified bids are made. A hearing is scheduled for July 23 to approve the sale plan.
GM, which is coming through its own bankruptcy process with $50 billion in U.S. government financing, has agreed to provide $2 billion of funding to Beverly Hills, California-based Platinum.
The Platinum deal for Delphi was negotiated with the involvement of U.S. officials at the same time that the White House-appointed autos task force was readying the June 1 bankruptcy filing for GM, court documents show.
But Delphi creditors have complained that the Platinum and GM transaction was negotiated in secret and would short change their interests.
The case is In re: Delphi Corp et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 05-44481.
Soyoung Kim and Megan Davies
(Additional reporting by Kevin Krolicki and Caroline Humer; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)