Earlier this year, in a move to focus its operations, Cooper Tire & Rubber (NYSE:CTB) hired investment bank Lazard Freres & Co. to sell its Cooper-Standard Automotive division. Last week, Lazard got the deal done: The buyers included Goldman Sachs Capital Partners (NYSE:GS) and the Cypress Group, both private equity firms. The price tag: $1.165 billion. With the slug of cash, Cooper Tire & Rubber can pay down debt, buy back shares, and expand in global markets, such as China.

Cooper-Standard Automotive has a capable management team, which will remain in place. The team has built a leader in the manufacturing of components for the automotive OEM marketplace -- such as fluid handling, vibration control, and body sealing systems.

There has been quite a bit of mergers and acquisitions activity in the auto parts sector. For example, there was the Roger Penske purchase of Autocam for $390 million, Cypress snapped up Dana for $1.1 billion, and Cerberus Capital Management purchased GDX Automotive for $147 million from GenCorp (NYSE:GY).

A typical deal ranges from 5 to 6 times EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). But, in the case of Cooper-Standard Automotive, the deal came in at 4.8 times EBITDA.

No doubt, the automotive parts industry is mature. This has translated into robust cash flows, as auto parts companies have little marketing costs (there is only a handful of customers) and investments in new manufacturing facilities.

Such cash flows are attractive to private equity firms. So expect more deals in the sector. Some of the potential targets include ArvinMeritor (NYSE:ARM), Visteon (NYSE:VC), and Delphi (NYSE:DPH).

Fool contributor Tom Taulli owns none of the shares mentioned in the article.