It's been life in the fast lane for Chassis Brakes as a result of KPS's complex rebuild, writes Kirk Falconer
Brakes are an essential piece of safety equipment in cars, yet when Robert Bosch tried to sell its global foundation-brake unit more than a decade ago it came up short of ready buyers.
The Bosch business, a low-tech maker of products like calipers, disk brakes and drum brakes, had for several years been racking up losses. While the North American division was sold in 2009 to Japan's Akebono, strategic buyers signaled they were unwilling to place a similar bet on the remaining global assets.
One investor, however, continued to show interest. KPS Capital Partners, a specialist in manufacturing-focused turn-around deals, looked past the track record of Bosch's global operation, "seeing value where others did not," managing partner Michael Psaros tells Buyouts.
KPS saw a platform for innovation. By acquiring Bosch's "EBITDA-burning assets," Psaros says, the PE firm determined it could help develop braking systems for autonomous and electric vehicles.
In 2012 KPS created Chassis Brakes International Group to buy the Bosch assets, which had a book value of about €600 million ($652 million in current dollars). The purchase price was €88.6 million. No cash payment was made to Bosch, which agreed to partner with KPS, making a pre- and post-closing investment of €177 million.
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