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U.S. car seat firm to buy Ikeda, expand in Japan; Acquisitions


MILWAUKEE - Johnson Controls Inc., the second-largest maker of vehicle seats, agreed yesterday to buy No. 1 Japanese auto-seat maker Ikeda Bussan Co. for 19.8 billion yen ($185 million) in cash and assumed debt to boost sales in Asia.

Johnson Controls will pay 120 yen a share for all of Ikeda Bussan, a unit of Nissan Motor Co., Japan's third-biggest carmaker, for 1.7 percent more than Ikeda's close Friday.

The Milwaukee company will assume 9.1 billion yen in debt in a purchase it said will add "slightly" to fiscal 2001 profit.

The deal is the latest in a series of foreign purchases of shares in Japanese automotive companies that are consolidating.

Johnson Controls, which entered the Japanese market in 1973, is expanding in Japan at a time when Japanese automakers are looking to shed many of their affiliates. Ikeda Bussan sells almost all its products to Nissan, the Japanese company said, a relationship Johnson Controls plans to maintain.

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