TRW, the military contractor that recently agreed to be sold to Northrop Grumman for $US7.8 billion, is close to a deal to sell its automotive-parts business to a group of financiers for about $5 billion, executives close to the discussions told the New York Times (NYT) yesterday.

Citing the executives, the NYT said that TRW hopes to reach a deal with two private equity firms, the Blackstone Group and the Carlyle Group, to sell the unit by the end of the week. The executives cautioned the NYT that the talks could fall apart or be delayed.

The NYT said that Northrop had planned to sell TRW’s automotive unit once the deal with Northrop was completed, but the quick sale by TRW will make integrating the companies easier and will help it reduce debt more quickly.

TRW had agreed to sell its aeronautics business to the Goodrich Corporation for $1.5 billion before its deal with Northrop to make itself even more attractive, the New York Times added.

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