Brookfield Is Nearing Deal for Johnson Controls Unit

(Bloomberg) -- Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is nearing a deal to buy Johnson Controls International Plc’s auto-battery business, according to people familiar with the matter.

JCI, which said in March that it had hired Centerview Partners to run a sale process for the unit, could announce a deal as soon as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. A final agreement hasn’t been reached and talks may fall apart or another bidder may emerge, they said.

The business could fetch more than $12 billion, people familiar with the matter said in July.

JCI rose as much as 4.4 percent Monday in New York trading. Its shares closed little changed -- down 0.1 percent -- at $31.28 against the backdrop of the 0.7 percent decline of the Standard & Poor’s 500. Brookfield fell 0.8 percent in New York.

Representatives for JCI and Brookfield declined to comment.

A deal would be one of the largest leveraged buyouts of 2018, as private equity firms increasingly look to put large amounts of capital to work. In January, Blackstone Group LP agreed to buy a majority stake in Thomson Reuters Corp.’s financial and risk operations in a deal valued at $17 billion, while KKR & Co. agreed in June to buy Envision Healthcare in a deal valued at $9.9 billion, including debt.

JCI, based in Cork, Ireland and led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Oliver, decided to sell the automotive battery unit in order to focus on its building management business. The company spun off its automotive seat maker, now called Adient Plc, in 2016.

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