Aug 22 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP is exploring an initial public offering (IPO) of Gates Global LLC, three years after it acquired the U.S. auto parts and building products maker for $5.4 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The IPO would follow a major turnout at the company under Blackstone, which had to implement a program of significant cost cuts after being hit by weak demand in the agriculture, infrastructure, energy and mining markets.
Blackstone has told banks that it may hire IPO underwriters in the next few months to prepare to take Gates public in 2018, the three sources said. The IPO could value Gates at more than $7 billion, the sources added.
The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Blackstone declined to comment, while Gates did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Lauren Hirsch in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)