S.Africa's Alexander Forbes says several parties want to acquire it
* Group was preparing to list in Johannesburg
* Shares up more than 4 pct
JOHANNESBURG, April 17 (Reuters) - South African financial services group Alexander Forbes said on Thursday it had received expressions of interest from several different parties interested in acquiring it.
The group, which has also been exploring an initial public offering, said in a regulatory filing that it would explore both options.
Rand Merchant Bank, a unit of South Africa's FirstRand , and Deutsche Bank AG have been hired to manage the initial public offering, CEO Edward Kieswetter told Reuters last September.
Alexander Forbes was taken private in 2007 by a group of private equity investors led by London-based Actis and South African firm Ethos in a 8.8 billion rand deal.
Other investors in the Johannesburg-based company are Boston-based HabourVest Partners and two Canadian fund managers, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec.
Preference shares of Alexander Forbes, which offers retirement funds, financial planning and insurance in Africa's most advanced economy, shot up more than 4 percent to 8.80 rand at 1315GMT, but losses so far this year are still more than 50 percent. (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by David Dolan)