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Blackstone to buy US auto parts firm for US$5.4 bil.

NEW YORK -- Investment fund Blackstone said Friday it will buy U.S. auto parts maker Gates Corporation for US$5.4 billion from its Canadian owners.

The deal is the second-largest private equity takeover so far this year after Cerberus Capital's US$9.1 billion agreement to merge its Albertson's supermarket chain with rival Safeway.

Blackstone said it had clinched the cash deal to buy all of Pinafore Holdings, the parent company of Gates owned by Canadian private-equity company Onex and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The buyout is Blackstone's biggest since it acquired hotelier Hilton for US$26 billion in 2007.

Gates, formerly known as Gates Global, is the world's leading manufacturer of power transmission belts and a leader in fluid power products for the automobile and other industries.

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