Private equity firm Dering is sole remaining bidder for TDF-Les Echos

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Dering Capital is in advanced talks to buy French broadcasting masts operator TDF, and is the last remaining bidder after a Canadian consortium dropped out, Les Echos reported on Wednesday.

Sources told Reuters in October that Dering, founded in 2011 by Ben Jenkins, ex-Hong Kong head of Blackstone, had submitted a slightly higher first-round bid of about 3.6 billion euros ($4.9 billion) than the group led by Canadian pension fund PSP Investments.

The owners of TDF were hoping to bring in 4 billion euros from the sale, the sources said.

“Faced with the inflexibility of TDF shareholders on the price, PSP dropped out of the process, giving Dering a stronger hand to force a lowing asking price from the seller,” Les Echos said in the unsourced report.

TDF was not immediately available for comment.

TDF’s business is suffering from weakness in its mobile antennas unit, which counts telecom operators as customers, and is saddled with 3.8 billion euros of debt.

The sellers are TDF shareholders, including the private equity funds TPG with 42 percent, Charterhouse Ardian -previously known as AXA private equity – and France’s BPI.

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