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Airbag death toll grows to at least 18 around the world

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Several months after filing for bankruptcy protection, Takata has reached a final buyout deal. Key Safety Systems, a global supplier of auto safety parts, will acquire the troubled airbag company for $1.6 billion.

As announced in a preliminary agreement back in June, KSS will gain “substantially all” of Takata’s assets. The deal excludes operations involving Takata’s ammonium nitrate airbag inflators that resulted in massive recalls around the world. This part of the business will be led by a reorganized Takata and will eventually be phased out.

KSS will finance the purchase through a combination of debt and equity. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, as long as bankruptcy courts in Japan and the U.S. approve.

Based in Detroit but owned by a company in China, KSS says the deal will position it to become a global leader in the auto safety business. Currently, it boasts $7 billion in revenue and employs around 60,000 employees across 23 countries.

“We enter this transaction in a spirit of partnership and anticipate executives and employees from both KSS and Takata together will play important roles — from initial integration through strategic execution,” KSS President Yuxin Tang said in a statement. “We look forward to completing the transaction and advancing the next phase of growth for the new combined company.”

So far, at least 18 deaths around the world have been linked to Takata’s faulty airbags, which can explode upon deployment and send metal shrapnel flying through the cabin. The airbags will continue to be recalled through 2019, bringing the total number of affected airbags to 65-70 million, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on its website.

Source: Key Safety Systems, Automotive News (Subscription required)



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