FRANKFURT, March 10 Diana Group, a French food ingredient maker owned by private equity firm Ardian, has attracted bids worth more than 1.2 billion euros ($1.7 billion) including debt from Germany's Symrise and Japanese seasoning maker Ajinomoto, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
Symrise and Ajinomoto declined to comment on the report. Ardian, formerly AXA Private Equity, was not immediately available for comment.
Ajinomoto has sought growth through deals, taking a 50 percent stake in Turkish food company Kukre Gida for about 60 million Turkish lira ($27 million) in November.
Symrise, for its part, has recently raised its stake in Swedish probiotics specialist Probi.
The paper cited people with knowledge of the talks as saying private equity groups Blackstone and BC Partners were no longer contenders for Diana.
Buy-out firms CVC Capital Partners, Euroazeo and Pamplona remain in the race, the FT added.
France's Diana generated 415 million euros in revenue in 2012, making nutritional ingredients for the food, pet food and aquaculture industries.
Bankers prepared debt packages to finance the potential sale of Diana, banking sources told RLPC last month.
($1 = 0.7214 euros)