Wheatland Tube Co., Collingswood, N.J., is negotiating with a private-equity firm for a potential sale.

Now in the due diligence phase of the negotiations, Wheatland Tube could be sold sometime in the first quarter, if the deal closes, said Mark Magno, the company's vice president of marketing, electrical and national accounts.

The private equity firm that Wheatland Tube is talking with stepped forward after Wheatland Tube's board of directors and shareholders voted to explore getting a strategic equity partner, said Magno. Wheatland Tube is not disclosing the name of the firm, but said the financial firm does not operate any businesses in the steel industry.

If the deal goes through, Magno said all senior managers would remain “firmly in place,” and that selected shareholders and senior management would reinvest back into the company so, “Our goals and our private equity partner's goals are in alignment.”