UPDATE 1-Robeco may fetch more than 2 bln euros in sale-sources
* CVC, Advent, Permira weighing final bids - sources
* AMG, Macquarie also interested - sources
* Robeco seen valued at more than 2 bln euros - sources
* Bids due Sept. 18. Some suitors in talks to team up
By Simon Meads and Soyoung Kim and Sophie Sassard
LONDON/NEW YORK, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Rabobank's asset management arm, Robeco, is expected to fetch more than 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion), as a handful of private equity firms and asset managers line up for the next round of bids due later this month, according to several people familiar with the matter.
New York-based asset manager AMG Inc and Australian bank Macquarie Group Ltd, as well as buyout firms Advent International, CVC Capital Partners and Permira Advisers LLP, are among the parties evaluating offers, the sources said on Friday.
Final bids are due on Sept. 18, although one of the sources cautioned the date could still be pushed back as the bidders are in continuing due diligence.
Because of the size of the business - which one of the sources said could fetch as much as 3 billion euros - some of the private equity firms have been in talks to team up for final bids.
CVC is considering teaming up with Advent after initial talks to join forces with TA Associates fell apart, the source said.
The people asked not to be named because the matter is not public. Robeco and the potential bidders declined to comment or were not available for comment.
Rabobank, the Netherlands' largest retail bank, kicked off the sale of Robeco in the spring after it lost its triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poor's last year and sought to prepare for stricter capital rules on European banks.
The sale of Robeco is hot on the heels of the auction for the asset management business of Franco-Belgian bank Dexia , with both sales being handled by Barclays Plc .
But Robeco, with some 186 billion euros of assets under management as of the end of July, is more than twice the size of its rival and seen as a more successful and attractive business, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal is not without complications. Robeco's various divisions, including U.S.-based mutual fund arm Harbor Capital Advisors and Swiss sustainable investing arm SAM Group, are seen by some buyers as disparate divisions without great synergies between them.
"The seller has been very clear they want to sell Robeco as a whole. It's for the buyers to work within that framework," another source said.
That could benefit private equity groups that often struggle to beat bids by large investment management groups in auctions of rival asset managers.
Unlike its main Dutch rivals, ABN AMRO and ING Groep NV , Rabobank did not need state aid during the 2008 credit crisis and did not make a loss during that period.
However, it has started a reorganization which will see it return to its roots serving the Dutch farming sector, selling non-core business such as its majority stake in private Swiss bank Sarasin last year.
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