PARIS Aug 21 (Reuters) - French insurer AXA is close to a long-awaited deal to sell control of its private equity unit to its management company, with an agreement possible as soon as September, Financial News reported on Tuesday.
The company first disclosed that it was undertaking a "strategic review" of the unit, which has been particularly active in buying portfolios of private equity holdings from large banks, last September.
An AXA spokeswoman declined to comment on the report, and the insurer said at the time of its earnings release earlier this month only that the strategic review was continuing.
AXA Private Equity declined to comment.
Speculation about possible buyers initially focused on Canada's Caisse des Depots du Quebec and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund. Financial News said a management buyout was now the most likely outcome.
Financial News, which cited two sources, said Caisse des Depots du Quebec was still likely to invest in the spin-out alongside other current investors in AXA Private Equity funds.
AXA would retain a minority stake in the venture, which will keep the AXA Private Equity name for the next two years, according to the report. (Reporting By Christian Plumb, additional reporting Matthieu Protard)