Becker Group to be sold
DETROIT - Collins & Aikman Corp. signed a letter of intent to acquire plastics supplier Becker Group LLC for $60 million in cash, stock and other considerations. The transaction is expected to close within 60 days.
In addition to $60 million, terms include an $18 million non-compete agreement to be paid over five years, 17 million shares of Collins & Aikman stock, and warrants for 500,000 shares at an exercise price of $5 per share. The company's stock closed at $4.72 on Friday, March 23.
Heartland Industrial Partners LP, the investment firm headed by former Reagan administration budget chief David Stockman, acquired a 60 percent stake in Collins & Aikman in February.
ThyssenKrupp buys Magneti unit
TURIN - Magneti Marelli S.p.A., the parts unit of Italian automaker Fiat Auto S.p.A., plans to sell its suspension systems and shock absorber businesses to German supplier ThyssenKrupp AG.
ThyssenKrupp initially will buy 51 percent of the business, plus an option to purchase the remainder beginning in 2004. Fiat estimated the value of the transaction at $400 million, though that could rise to $500 million depending on the performance of the business during the next three years.
PAC buys Chiyoda stake
TOKYO - PAC Project Advisers International Ltd. of Ann Arbor, Mich., has acquired a majority stake in Chiyoda Corp.'s Automotive Plant Division in what is believed to be the first purchase of a Japanese automotive engineering-services company by a Western company.
PAC provides a variety of project-management services. The former Chiyoda unit helps automakers get plants running by designing the assembly process and installing equipment and training operators.
Visteon to buy voice technology
DETROIT - Visteon Corp. will drop its lawsuit against joint venture partner Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products NV of Belgium in exchange for buying some L&H voice recognition technology. The Dearborn, Mich., supplier agreed to pay $13.1 million for the C-REC and SDX speech recognition technology developed by L&H unit Dragon Systems.
L&H is in bankruptcy reorganization, and Visteon would buy the technology out of those proceedings.
But L&H officials are warning that time is of the essence. An L&H executive last week told the bankruptcy court that Visteon has threatened to pull out of the deal unless it closes quickly, according to Reuters.
Interpublic buys True North
NEW YORK - Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc. last week bought True North Communications Inc. in a stock swap worth $2.1 billion. The acquisition moves Interpublic from the world's third-largest advertising company to the largest.
Interpublic owns McCann-Erickson Worldwide, which handles Buick advertising, and Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, which handles GMC. True North owns Campbell-Ewald Advertising, which handles Chevrolet, and Temerlin McClain, which handles Subaru of America Inc.