UPDATE 1-Canada's Onex leads bidding for packaging firm SIG - source

Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:00am EST
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(Updates with source, background)

FRANKFURT Nov 17 (Reuters) - Canadian buyout firm Onex Corp is leading the bidding for Swiss packaging group SIG Combibloc Group, a source familiar with the deal said on Monday.

Onex is expected to reach an agreement with SIG as early as this week, the source said.

Onex is expected to pay roughly 3.6 billion euros ($4.5 bln) for the world's second largest maker of drink cartons, two different people familiar with the deal said.

Onex had been neck-on-neck with Swiss-based rival Partners Group, after BC Partners dropped out of the running, the sources said.

"It looks like Onex has won the auction, but you never know

for sure until the ink of the signature has dried," one of the sources said.

Reuters reported in June that New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart, was exploring a sale of SIG.

Earlier this month, sources told Reuters that buyout groups Onex, Partners Group and BC Partners were set to hand in final offers for SIG, in an auction likely to raise less for Hart than initially thought. Bloomberg reported on Sunday that Onex was seen taking the lead to acquire the group.   Continued...