Three bidders emerge in auction for RWE DEA unit: sources

FRANKFURT Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:21am EST

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Three bidders are expected to hand in initial offers for RWE DEA RWEDE.UL, the oil and gas exploration and production unit of Germany's second-biggest utility RWE (RWEG.DE), four people close to the negotiations told Reuters.

Bids are expected to be submitted by Wintershall, the oil and gas arm of German chemicals group BASF (BASFn.DE), Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, and a consortium consisting of U.S. private equity firm KKR (KKR.N) and Kufpec, the international arm of Kuwait Petroleum Corp, the sources said.

Bids, which are due on Monday, January 20, will value DEA at about 4 billion euros ($5.44 billion), two of the people said, less than the 5 billion that sources said had been targeted by RWE originally.

Spokespeople for RWE, Wintershall, KKR, Fridman all declined to comment. Kufpec was not immediately available for comment. ($1 = 0.7352 euros)

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Christoph Steitz; Editing by Harro ten Wolde)

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