KBC PE Sale to AXA Falls Through

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian financial group KBC (KBC.BR) has ended talks to sell its private equity unit to AXA Private Equity AXAF.BR and Belgian investment group Sofina (SOF.BR) without success, Belgian business daily De Tijd said on Wednesday.

KBC had been holding exclusive discussions with the would-be buyers for some time. It was unclear whether talks would be held with any other potential suitors, De Tijd said.

A KBC spokeswoman had no comment on the deal. KBC Private Equity has 29 staff and a portfolio of more than 350 million euros, including holdings in Pizza Hut and listed Belgian frozen food company Pinguin (TTBG.DE).

KBC has agreed with the European Commission to divest units to help pay off 7 billion euros ($8.55 billion) in state aid it received in the financial crisis.

It agreed to sell its private banking arm to Indian family-owned Hinduja Group for 1.35 billion euros last week. (Writing by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by David Cowell)