TPG, Goldman weigh HeidelbergCement stake -source

* Bain Capital also weighing joining joint bid – source

* HeidelbergCement shares rise 8.5 pct, topping MDAX gainers

By Philipp Halstrick

(Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm TPG is considering taking a stake in HeidelbergCement jointly with Goldman Sachs sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, confirming an earlier report.

One of the sources said Bain Capital was also weighing involvement in the bid for a stake in the world’s fourth-largest cement maker, together with Goldman Sachs and TPG.

HeidelbergCement, controlled by the Merckle family, which has been forced to put up financial assets as collateral for bank loans it is getting to help refinance, declined to comment.

Goldman Sachs, TPG also declined to comment, while Bain was not immediately available.

Earlier in the day, shares in HeidelbergCement rose sharply after the Wall Street Journal reported that Goldman, possibly in partnership with TPG, was considering making an investment in HeidelbergCement. The paper cited people familiar with the matter.

One person said that any investment would likely involve a minority stake, but may lead to the sale of a majority holding at a later stage, the paper added.

Shares rose 8.5 percent to 31.23 euros by 0958 GMT, as one of the top gainers on Germany’s mid-cap index .MDAXI, having slid 15.5 percent this week on market speculation the company may issue new shares to shore up its balance sheet.

The speculation arose following HeidelbergCement’s announcement late on Tuesday that it planned to bolster its capital base and restructure its large debt load.

A source familiar with HeidelbergCement’s situation said the company saw one or more investors taking a stake in the firm as one possible option to strengthen its equity base but that the thinking was at an early stage.

The company, belonging to the family of late German billionaire Merckle who threw himself in front of a train last week, had net debt of 12.29 billion euros at the end of September, down from 14.61 billion at the end of 2007, but up from just 3.08 billion at the end of 2006.

Credit default swaps on Heidelberg, protecting credit investors against a company default, have been trading ‘upfront’ for months, meaning that sellers of debt protection consider the risk of default to be such that they require a large down-payment. (Additional reporting Christoph Steitz and Sarah Marsh in Frankfurt, Hendrik Sackmann in Stuttgart and Simon Meads in London; editing by Simon Jessop)