Private equity firm KKR & Co. is in talks to buy Magneti Marelli, Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s (FCA) auto parts division, according to media reports.
While reports of the talks are strictly unattributed, the word is coming from a number of respected news outlets.
The fact that KKR already holds Japanese auto parts maker Calsonic Kansei lends credence to the reporting.
In addition, there was much discussion earlier this year about the potential spin-off of Magneti Marelli, something that current reports say is still under consideration.
Media reports in February of this year gained momentum after the FCA board announced in late February that it was continuing its review of the potential spinoff.
In a February 28 release the company said: “Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced today that the Company is continuing its review of the potential separation of FCA’s subsidiary Magneti Marelli S.p.A.
“The Board of Directors of the Company plans to review in detail options relating to this transaction in the second quarter of 2018, concurrent with the Board’s review of the Group’s 2018-2022 business plan. In the meantime management will continue its evaluation of potential transaction structures to maximize value to FCA stockholders.
“There is no assurance that the review of the potential separation of Magneti Marelli will result in a final determination to enter into any such transaction or that such transaction, if commenced, will be completed. FCA does not intend to make any further disclosures concerning these matters until a definitive determination is made.”
Despite the carefully worded statement, speculation has strengthened that the parts maker would be spun off to its shareholders.
A report from Reuters says that this will be done without raising capital. The report goes on to say that investors would get shares in the parts maker n proportion to existing FCA holdings.
Apparently, according to the same report, an initial public offering was on the table at the outset but majority shareholders the Agnelli family balked at the low industry valuations at present and did not want to dilute their holdings.
Regarding the current talks for an acquisition, they are said to be at very early stages and may potentially come to nothing.