Visteon Corp. confirmed this morning that it is in discussions with a private equity firm to sell its stake in South Korean joint venture Halla Visteon Climate Control Corp.
Media reports in South Korea on Monday said Visteon and Hahn & Co. had signed a preliminary agreement. Visteon plans to sell its nearly 70 percent stake for $3.6 billion, the Korea Economic Daily reported.
However, Visteon said in a statement that "there can be no assurance these discussions will result in any transaction or on what terms any such transaction may occur."
The automotive climate control business includes plastics in ducts, vents and other parts.
The deal would mark the end of a tumultuous few years for the Halla Visteon venture.
In 2012, two years after emerging from bankruptcy and still struggling to reach profitability, Visteon sought to own outright the Halla joint venture.
In July of that year, Visteon, based in the Detroit suburb of Van Buren Township, Mich., said it would offer $805 million to acquire the 30 percent stake in Halla that it didn't already own. But the deal was ultimately rejected by Korea's National Pension Service, which held an 8 percent stake in Halla. The pension group said the offer was low compared to long-term profits.
The failure to secure the deal ultimately led to Visteon's board parting ways with then-CEO Don Stebbins.
In September 2012, Visteon, under new CEO Tim Leuliette, sold its global climate control business to the $4 billion Halla joint venture. The move was made to make a sale of the venture, Leuliette told Crain's Detroit Business at the time. CDB is a sister publication of Plastics News.
Earlier this year, Halla Visteon agreed to acquire the thermal and emissions business from Novi, Mich.-based Cooper-Standard Automotive Inc. for $46 million. The deal beefed up the venture's product line in North America and Europe.
Halla Visteon Climate Control's customers include General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group, Tesla Motors, Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Corp., Volvo Car Corp., Volkswagen AG, BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz.
It operates 35 plants in North and South America, Europe and Asia.