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PARIS (Reuters) - Accor (ACCP.PA), Europe's largest hotel group, is among potential buyers of No. 2 budget operator Louvre Hotels, which owner U.S. investment group Starwood Capital is seeking to sell, a source close to the matter said on Monday.
"Accor is looking at the dossier but the process is at an early stage," the source told Reuters.
French daily Les Echos said on Monday that Starwood was seeking buyers for Louvre Hotels and that Accor was among those that had submitted non-binding offers in a sale which could raise 1.2-1.5 billion euros ($1.5-1.9 billion) -- or over 10 times gross operating profit of 110 million euros.
Among other potential buyers, Les Echos cited private equity groups PAI Partners, CVC, Blackstone, and French property group Fonciere des Murs.
Starwood Capital could not be immediately reached for comment.
Starwood Capital took on Louvre Hotels as part of its acquisition of Taittinger's hotel and champagne empire in 2005.
Louvre Hotels bought Dutch hotel operator Golden Tulip in 2009 and is No. 2 for budget hotels in Europe after Accor.
Louvre Hotels operates more than 1,000 hotels in 47 countries, ranging from one to five stars under the Premiere Classe, Campanile, Kyriad, Tulip Inn, Golden Tulip, Kyriad Prestige, and Royal Tulip brands.
At 0752 GMT (3.52 a.m. EDT), Accor shares were off 0.99 percent at 31.48 euros, underperforming the CAC-40 index of French blue chips .FCHI, which was down 0.5 percent.
Reporting by Pascale Denis, Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Brian Love, Mark John and Mark Potter