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Johnson Controls weighs auto electronics unit sale

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Johnson Controls Inc. said Wednesday that it has hired bankers to explore selling its auto electronics business, but denied a report that it is trying to sell its auto interiors unit.

The Milwaukee company makes a variety of auto parts, batteries for cars and other products and building products such as heating and ventilation systems.

Its auto interiors division includes instrument panels and door and floor consoles. The auto electronics unit houses products such as infotainment systems and lighting controls.

The entire automotive experience segment, which also includes a unit that makes car seats, accounted for about half the company's sales in 2012. Auto batteries are manufactured by a separate power solutions division.

Reuters reported Wednesday that Johnson Controls was exploring selling its auto interiors unit, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter, so it could focus on more profitable businesses.

Johnson Controls said in response that it does not inted to get rid of the auto interiors unit. The company said it has hired JPMorgan to explore a possible sale of its automotive electronics business and is in the early stage of that process.

The company's shares soared as high as $34.45 in the early afternoon because of rumors of a division sale. Shares closed up 82 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $32.63.