FRANKFURT, July 20 At least four peers of
Europe's biggest bathroom equipment maker Grohe
submitted exploratory offers for the private-equity owned
company by Friday's deadline, two sources familiar with the deal
told Reuters on Saturday.
Swiss rival Geberit, U.S.-based Fortune Brands
, Japan's Lixil and Brazil's Duratex
have made tentative bids, the sources said.
Grohe received six bids in total, one of the sources said.
In the early stages of an auction, companies often hand in
bids to get an opportunity to look at their rival's books, and
often drop out when asked to make a binding offer.
The potential sale, which values Germany's Grohe at up to 4
billion euros ($5 billion) in equity and debt, could be the
largest European private equity sale this year, topping BC
Partners' acquisition of German publisher Springer
Science and CVC's purchase of German
energy-metering firm Ista.
Grohe's owners, TPG Capital and the private equity
arm of Credit Suisse, are running a dual-track process
that may result in a stock market listing in the autumn.
Thailand's Siam Cement said this week that it was
no longer interested.
Grohe, its owners and their advisers - Credit Suisse and
Goldman Sachs - as well as Geberit and Lixil declined to
A Duratex spokeswoman said, "The company has no knowledge
and there is no information on this subject."
Fortune was not immediately available for comment.
Analysts say that buying Grohe could be a stretch for some
of the company's smaller peers: Duratex has a market
capitalisation of $3.7 billion, Fortune's is $6.8 billion and
Lixil's $7.5 billion.