French funeral operator OGF gets takeover bids: sources

PARIS/LONDON Mon Jul 1, 2013 1:09pm EDT

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PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - Three private equity firms have submitted bids to acquire France's leading funeral services firm OGF, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Lion Capital, TDR Capital and Pamplona Capital Management have all made it through to the second round of bidding for the funeral operator owned by buyout firm Astorg Partners. CVC has also been cited as a potential bidder on the deal, which is being managed by Goldman Sachs, bankers said.

Second-round bids in the auction are due by the end of July, they said.

OGF, which has earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about 100 million euros ($130.35 million), could sell for 800 million to 1 billion euros including debt, sources have said.

Astorg declined to comment, as did Lion Capital, TDR and Pamplona. Goldman Sachs officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

In June, banking sources told Reuters RLPC that bankers were putting together around 700 million euros of debt financing to back the potential sale.

The sale would be the latest in a series of efforts by private equity firms to sell on companies bought in 2006-2007 when the European buyout market was booming.

Astorg acquired OGF in 2007 from U.S. private equity company Vestar Capital Partners in a 780 million-euro buyout.

OGF, which has more than 5,500 employees, is itself on at least its second private equity buyer, and the 170-year-old firm was owned in the latter part of the 1990s by U.S. funerals company Service Corporation International (SCI.N). ($1 = 0.7671 euros)

(Reporting By Christian Plumb and Claire Ruckin; Edited by Lionel Laurent)

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