TROY, Mich. -- Heartland Industrial Partners is negotiating to buy Collins & Aikman Corp., the largest maker of automobile carpet, for about $1.2 billion from the Blackstone Group LP and Wasserstein Perella & Co., the Daily Deal newspaper reported.

Blackstone and Wasserstein bought the predecessor company to Collins & Aikman, Wickes Cos., about 12 years ago for $2.7 billion. The two buyout firms held an initial public offering for Collins in July 1994 at $10.50 a share, selling 15 million shares.

In November, Heartland completed its more than $2 billion acquisition of MascoTech Inc., a maker of metal parts for transmissions and drive gears. The transaction was the biggest leveraged buyout in 2000.

The MascoTech purchase was the first investment by David Stockman's Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based buyout firm. Stockman, the former Reagan Administration budget director, formed Heartland after leaving the Blackstone Group to invest in undervalued industrial companies.