[FRANKFURT] Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile Netherlands division has drawn interest from private equity groups Apax and CVC, which are putting the finishing touches to their rival bids, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The unit, which lags competitors KPN and Vodafone in the market, could be valued at up to 3 billion euros (S$4.5b) and is being sold in an auction process led by Credit Suisse, the sources said.
The bidders have been asked to submit indicative offers by November 16.
Other investment firms, including US buyout funds Bain Capital and Providence, are also expected to enter the race, the sources said.
It remains to be seen whether any telecom or cable companies will emerge as bidders, but some of the sources said French entrepreneur Xavier Niel's telecoms group Iliad and cable group Liberty Global could be interested in the asset.
Liberty is already present in the Netherlands as cable provider Ziggo, and is awaiting approval to buy a mobile operator in Belgium as it bets more on all-inclusive bundles of services.
Spokesmen at Deutsche Telekom, Liberty Global, and the private equity funds declined to comment. Iliad could not immediately be reached for comment.