UPDATE 1-France's TDF wants final bids by November-sources
By Gwénaëlle Barzic, Sophie Sassard and Matthieu Protard
PARIS/LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The owners of international broadcasting masts operator TDF Group who are seeking to sell its French division for at least 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion) will hold a meeting later this month to decide whether to invite new bids, several sources close to the situation said.
Paris-based TDF, which provides radio transmission services for broadcasting and telecoms companies, received expressions of interest from multiple bidders in August that fell short of its targeted price tag by several hundred million euros, sources with knowledge of the process previously told Reuters.
Private equity fund TPG is TDF's largest shareholder with 42 percent of the equity, followed by France's national investment fund FSI and fellow private equity funds AXA and Charterhouse.
Since August TDF's management and the vendors have had talks with the bidders to "understand their difficulties and their concerns" and the owners of the business will now meet at the end of the month with their advisers to decide what to do next, one of the sources said.
The likeliest outcome is that the sellers will ask for new bids to be made.
"We will ask for firm offers by early November with the aim of closing the deal in the first quarter of next year," said one of the sources.
"The game remains very open and it's very hard to predict the final outcome at this stage, another source said. Continued...