Dow Chemical sold its Styron plastics division to Bain Capital for $1.63 billion, the Associated Press reports. For Dow, the deal is a further unloading of debt after a turbulent year and for the markets as a whole, it may signify the start of an uptick in big mergers and acquisitions, which had cooled with the recession. Other private equity firms such as TPG and Apollo Management were rumored to be in the hunt for Styron, a business with annual sales estimated around $3.5 billion and 40 facilities worldwide. Dow put the company up for sale in July at a time when it was aggressively trying to cut costs following a contentious $16.5 billion buyout of specialty chemicals manufacturer Rohm & Haas. The companies are expecting the deal to close by August, pending regulatory approvals and closing conditions. Styron has about 1,900 employees and its products are sold in the automotive, appliance, electronics, tire and packaging industries.