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Bloomberg: One Equity to Sell Columbian Chemicals

Bloomberg reported today that One Equity Partners LLC, the buyout arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co., plans to sell U.S. carbon black manufacturer Columbian Chemicals Co., sourcing the rumor to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. The article lists India’s Aditya Birla Group as one of the potential bidders for Columbian, which is the world’s third largest the world’s third-largest carbon black producer (Birla ranks fourth). The transaction may be valued at more than $500 million, the article said.

The carbon black unit of Germany’s Evonik Industries is also for sale, and Bloomberg reports that billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s company and India’s Phillips Carbon Black Ltd. are both considering making offers for the business, which is the world’s second largest carbon black producer. This deal is likely to be valued at more than $700 million, according to the article. Pragnya Ram, a Birla Group spokeswoman in Mumbai, declined to comment on “market speculation.” JPMorgan spokesman Justin Perras also declined to comment.

One Equity, established in 2001, manages $8 billion of investments for New York-based JPMorgan in direct private-equity transactions, according to its website.

Together, Evonik and Columbian Chemicals control 20% of the 12.7 million tonnes/year of global carbon black capacity as of year-end 2009.

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