Buyout group Ardian has received binding bids for its stake in Fives, which may value the French engineering group at about 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion), people close to the matter said.
Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Québec and private equity firm TowerBrook have both handed in offers for the minority stake, they said.
The winner of the auction, which is being organised by BNP Paribas, is expected to tie up with Bpifrance or the Peugeot family’s investment arm FFP, both of which have offered to act as co-investors.
Ardian, BNP, the bidders and potential co-investors either declined to comment or were not immediately available for comment.
Fives, which has annual sales of 1.8 billion euros, designs and supplies machines and ready-to-work factories for the metals, automotive, aerospace, logistics and energy industries.
Ardian bought its 45 percent stake in the company, which is majority-owned by its management, from investor Charterhouse in 2012.