Bain, Permira Eye Japanese Telemarketer Bellsystem24

TOKYO/HONG KONG(Reuters) – Permira and Bain Capital are among the private equity firms interested in bidding for a Japanese telemarketer expected to be sold by Citigroup Inc (C.N) in a deal that could be worth around $1.5 billion, six people familiar with the matter said.

The sale of Bellsystem24 Inc was originally scheduled for last year but got delayed as the credit crisis deepened, making it difficult for buyers to procure funds, the sources said.

Citigroup, now more confident bidders will be able to secure financing, will likely start the sale process by early next month, one of the people said. (Reporting by Junko Fujita and Michael Flaherty; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)