LONDON Private equity groups Charterhouse and CVC's sale of energy-metering firm Ista is gathering pace with first-round bids due this month, banking sources said on Wednesday.
Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are advising on the sale of Ista which has a price tag of around 3 billion euros ($3.91 billion), making this one of the biggest private equity transactions in Germany this year.
First-round bids are due the week of March 18 and the sale is likely to attract a number of private equity firms eager to do deals following a thin year for acquisitions in 2012, banking sources said.
Potential Ista bidders include Apax, Bain, BC Partners, Blackstone, Hellman & Friedman, KKR and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, sources said.
All potential bidders and the sellers declined to comment or were not immediately available.
A management presentation took place in Germany on Tuesday for around 17 banks to give them information on the company and drum up interest so they can put together debt packages to offer to potential buyers in order to back an acquisition.
Debt packages to back a buyout will need to total around 2 billion euros or around 7 times Ista's approximate 290 million euros of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).
Debt is likely to include senior leveraged loans, mezzanine finance and high-yield bonds, bankers said.
Deutsche and Goldman Sachs have also put together a 'staple' financing package that offers all potential buyers money to pay for the acquisition, to speed the deal along and give buyers confidence that debt can be raised.
Charterhouse bought Ista at the height of the buyout boom in 2007 for 2.4 billion euros from CVC, backed with 2.1 billion debt, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data. CVC later bought back 24 percent.
($1 = 0.7677 euros)
(Reporting by Claire Ruckin; Editing by John Stonestreet)