Crestview looks to sell airbag maker Key Safety Systems -sources

Reuters

By Greg Roumeliotis and Soyoung Kim

NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Crestview Partners is seeking abuyer for Key Safety Systems, a supplier of airbags, seatbeltsystems and other car safety components that could be valued atmore than $800 million, according to several people familiarwith the matter.

Crestview, a New York-based private equity firm, has tappedGoldman Sachs Group and UBS AG to run a saleprocess for the company, which it acquired in 2007 for anundisclosed sum, the people said this week.

The auction, which is in its initial stages, has drawninterest from other companies in the automotive sector as wellas buyout firms, the people added, asking not to be identifiedbecause the sale process is confidential.

Key Safety Systems is expected to have earnings beforeinterest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of around$115 million in 2013, one of the people said.

The sources pointed to Stockholm-based Autoliv as apeer of Key Safety Systems that can be used for valuationcomparisons. Autoliv, which has a market value of $8.6 billion,trades at 7 times 12-month projected EBITDA, according toThomson Reuters data.

Crestview, Goldman Sachs and UBS declined to comment. KeySafety Systems did not respond to a request for comment.

Sterling Heights, Michigan-based Key Safety Systems suppliescar safety components including airbags, seat belts, steeringwheels and position and movement sensors. The company generatesover 65 percent of its sales outside of North America.

Key Safety Systems had revenue of $1.03 billion in 2012,according to Moody's Investors Service Inc.

The company was an early pioneer of automotive safetysystems in the 1960s, according to its website. The vastmajority of its revenue is contracted as its safety equipmenthas become a staple in cars made by the likes of Ford Motor Co, Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co.

Key Safety Systems' auction comes as Crestview is about tocomplete the acquisition of another automotive parts supplier,Stackpole International. Crestview is buying Ancaster,Ontario-based Stackpole from private equity peer Sterling Groupfor around $500 million, according to Moody's.

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