Private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and BC Partners are readying a bid for France's Elior that values the catering company at 3.5 billion euros ($4.67 billion) including debt, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
The bid would be for all of Elior and not just the catering unit owner Charterhouse Capital Partners had initially planned to sell, the financial daily said on its website citing people with knowledge of the matter.
Charterhouse and its advisers want to take the time to persuade other bidders to come forth and make an offer before launching a formal auction, the Financial Times said.
Charterhouse and its advisers are working with banks on a debt package exceeding 2 billion euros, the paper said.
In December, Reuters reported that bankers were preparing debt packages in excess of 2 billion euros to back a buyout of Elior.
At the time, sources told Reuters that the whole business, which includes a contract and concessions unit, could fetch 3-4 billion euros, but if offers were not attractive then Charterhouse could consider selling just Elior's contracts business.
CVC Capital and BC Partners declined to comment. Charterhouse could not immediately be reached for comment.
Elior was acquired for 2.5 billion euros in 2006 and Charterhouse owns 62.3 percent, Elior's co-founder Robert Zolade owns 24.7 percent and Chequers Capital owns 7.8 percent. The remaining 5.2 percent is owned by a number of other investors.
($1 = 0.7487 euros)
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Bangalore; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)