Johnnie Breed and a partner hope to create a $1 billion minority-owned supplier by acquiring the assets of Breed Technologies Inc., a major airbag supplier that filed for Chapter 11 creditor protection last September.
An investor group led by Johnnie Breed, CEO of Breed Technologies, and Ernie Green, CEO of suspension supplier EGI Inc., have submitted a bid to purchase substantially all of the assets of Breed Technologies, the world's third-largest maker of airbags. Details of the bid were not disclosed.
It's not clear how Johnnie Breed and Ernie Green can afford Breed Technologies. Johnnie Breed has substantial personal wealth tied up in the company her late husband founded.
Green would be co-chairman and CEO of the firm, with a 50.1 percent stake. Johnnie Breed and a group of investors would own the remainder; she would act as co-chairman and be responsible for global business development and diversification.
A combination of EGI and Breed Technologies' $891 million in North American revenues last year could create a $1 billion supplier of airbags, seat belts, inflators and electronics. Automotive News Europe ranks Breed as the 40th-largest supplier of original-equipment parts to North America.
The move by Breed and Green appears to have postponed a decision expected last month on bids from safety restraint system suppliers Autoliv Inc. and Delphi Automotive Systems Corp. The committee of Breed Technologies creditors and the court will decide the successful bidder.
Autoliv's interest in Breed Technologies waned after the announcement that the Swedish supplier intends to buy OEA Inc., a Denver supplier of igniters for airbag inflators, an Autoliv spokesman said.
A Breed Technologies spokesman would say only that the company is pursuing several options to emerge from bankruptcy court. Those include 'the sale of the business to one or more third parties or the reorganization of the business,' said a spokesman for Breed in Lakeland, Florida, USA. Only the company's North American operations are under the bankruptcy court's jurisdiction.
A sale of the company's North American operations might require $400 million to $600 million, said Scott Upham, president of consulting firm Providata Automotive of Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. He advises several Breed Technologies creditors.
Closely held EGI is relatively small, with $125 million in revenue expected this year, according to the company. Founder Ernie Green owns EGI, a Dayton, Ohio, USA, supplier of suspension assemblies and components to General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Honda Motor Co. and others.
Carl Code, an EGI vice president, declined to discuss the group's financing plans. But he said the company had been looking for an acquisition to continue its growth. EGI also supplies Autoliv with airbag covers.