July 28, 2011 / 11:26 PM / 8 years ago

Oberthur to sell off smart card business -FT

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - France’s Oberthur Technologies FCOFDO.UL is in the final stages of an auction to sell large chunks of its business to private equity bidders, the Financial Times said in its Friday edition, citing several people close to the situation.

The newspaper, quoting analysts, said the move could give Oberthur enough firepower to relaunch a bid for British banknote printer De La Rue (DLAR.L), which it had abandoned in late January. [ID:nLDE70N0LK]

The FT said U.S. financial investors Advent International and One Equity Partners were the two remaining contenders vying for a 60 percent stake in Oberthur’s smart card business in a deal which could be worth up to 600 million euros ($858 million).

It added that both bidders have handed in final offers for a majority stake this week in an auction run by Rothschild. ROT.UL

Other parties Bain Capital and PAI Partners backed away from the deal as they had felt that price expectations were too high, and were uncomfortable with Oberthur’s majority owner, the Savare family, keeping a 40 percent stake, the FT said.

Neither Oberthur nor the private equity firms were immediately available for comment.

$1 = 0.699 Euros Reporting by Brenda Goh

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