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Gentex buying JCI's automotive electronics business

By: Rhoda Miel

July 18, 2013

Johnson Controls Inc. has found a buyer for part of its automotive electronics business and expects to announce a deal for the rest of the operation within the next three months.

JCI, with corporate offices in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, Wis., announced during its quarterly financial report on July 17 that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its HomeLink product line to Gentex Corp. of Zeeland, Mich., for about $700 million.

HomeLink is a communications system — often installed within the plastic housing of mirror — which coordinates garage door openers, alarms, automatic gates and other household electronics from the car. Gentex is a top supplier of electronic mirrors and sensors.

JCI said earlier this year that it wants to sell its automotive electronics business to concentrate on its core products, including auto interiors and battery systems.

The deal with Gentex is expected to close by the end of JCI’s fiscal fourth quarter, which is Sept. 30, or in early fiscal 2014. It also expects to make an announcement on the sale of the rest of the electronics business on or before its fourth quarter earnings announcement.

Separating the HomeLink business from the rest of the electronics group will help the company market the units to firms with different strategic interests, JCI officials said.