NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- TI Automotive, the closely held auto-parts maker founded almost a century ago, is exploring options including a sale that may fetch about $1.5 billion, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.
The company, based in suburban Detroit, is working with Deutsche Bank AG on finding bidders, said three of the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. JPMorgan Chase & Co. also is involved, one of the people said. TI is owned by a group of U.S. and U.K.-based hedge funds, according to two people.
The company, which once supplied fuel lines to Ford Motor Co.'s Model T, traces its roots to 1919, when it was known as Tube Investments Ltd. in Birmingham, England.
The company ranks No. 63 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with estimated worldwide sales to automakers of $3 billion in 2012. More than one-fourth of its business stems from North America, according to spokesman Frank Buscemi. Another 40 percent of its revenue is generated in Europe, according to Automotive News research.
TI, which is registered in Oxford, England, makes fuel tubes, lines and tanks. Buscemi declined to comment on whether TI is pursuing a sale, as did Deutsche Bank spokesman Ari Cohen. JPMorgan spokeswoman Tasha Pelio also declined to comment.
Two private-equity firms were approached about the company, said one of the people, who declined to name the investment firms. New York-based KKR & Co. considered the asset and decided against a purchase, according to another person with knowledge of the matter. A representative at KKR declined to comment.
Bill Kozyra, once Continental AG's head of North American operations, took over TI Automotive in 2008 as CEO. TI's products are on about two-thirds of the world's vehicles, according to Buscemi.