Exclusive: Centerbridge, BC eye Caterpillar unit

NEW YORK Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:38am EDT

General view of the Caterpillar France site in Grenoble on March 31, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

General view of the Caterpillar France site in Grenoble on March 31, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Pratta

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private equity firms Centerbridge Partners and BC Partners are pursuing Caterpillar Inc's (CAT.N) logistics business and a sale of the unit could fetch more than $1 billion, several people familiar with the matter said.

Two or three parties remain in the auction as the bidding process for Caterpillar's third-party logistics business has reached the final round, four people said on Tuesday.

Centerbridge Partners has teamed up with Houston businessman Jim Crane, two of the people said. BC Partners is also pursuing the unit, the people said.

Representatives for Caterpillar declined to comment. Centerbridge and BC Partners did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of heavy equipment, hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) and Robert W. Baird & Co earlier this year to review a potential sale of the unit. The auction comes as Caterpillar sharpens its focus on its core business of making mining and construction equipment.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Megan Davies, additional reporting by Paritosh Bansal; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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