Could this be the last season with DuPont on Jeff Gordon's car?

The DuPont Company has agreed to sell its auto paint business in an almost $5 billion cash deal, advancing its strategy to move out of oil-based products and delve more deeply into advancing agriculture, nutrition and renewable fuels.

The company announced the $4.9 billion sale of its DuPont Performance Coatings business, a cornerstone in the firm’s traditional lines, to The Carlyle Group, a global asset management firm.

The transaction is expected to close early in 2013, and DuPont will retain ownership of its signature oval label. Carlyle will replace the oval and rebrand the unit’s products, according to DuPont. When the deal closes, all DuPont Performance Coatings workers will become employees of a new company under Carlyle.

Company officials said it is too soon to tell what staffing plans the new owners will have once they take over.

The company’s paint business is perhaps best recognized through DuPont Motorsports, a sponsor and paint manufacturer for four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon’s No.24 race car and the longest running sponsorship  (20 years)  in the sport’s history. Details of the logo on Gordon’s car will be agreed upon between DuPont, DuPont Performance Coatings and Hendrick Motorsports in the future, said Gregg Schmidt, DuPont spokesperson.

DuPont was once a full season sponsor for Gordon but has scaled back their sponsorship of NASCAR in recent years. The majority of Gordon’s events over the last two years have been sponsored by AARP and their ‘Drive to End Hunger’ campaign.

Story Credit, Delaware News Journal