* Negotiations at advanced stage - sources
* Price of deal is around $1.2 billion - source
* Marazzi declines to comment
By Stephen Jewkes and Massimo Gaia
MILAN, Nov 23 U.S. ceramic tile maker Mohawk
Industries is in advanced talks to buy the unlisted
Italian ceramics maker Marazzi Group, two sources familiar with
the deal said on Friday.
"The talks are in an advanced stage with due diligence
ongoing, though it is still not completely sure if the deal will
go through," one source said.
A second source said the parties were looking at the final
details. "But it's a very complex operation ... Mohawk is
evaluating the company very carefully," the source said.
The second source said the price of the deal was around $1.2
Marazzi declined to comment while Mohawk was not immediately
available for a comment.
Italy's ceramics industry is focused around the northern
town of Sassuolo which accounts for around 80 percent of Italian
tile production. It sells its products mainly to the building
sector but the global economic slowdown has affected sales.
The Marazzi Group is 51 percent controlled by the Marazzi
family and 49 percent owned by private equity funds Permira and
Private Equity Partners.
The first source said it was not clear if the Marazzi family
would take a stake in Mohawk if the deal went through.
Marazzi, which posted sales in 2011 of around 832 million
euros, is a leading ceramics company in many international
markets including Russia, Spain and the U.S.
Its products range from porcelain stoneware, crystallized
stoneware and single-fired tiles to glass mosaics.
Mohawk - which sells ceramic tiles, carpets and laminates
for both residential and commercial use - posted a 10 percent
rise in its sales in the third quarter to $1.4 billion.