Philips NV is in pole position to buy Italian coffee machine maker Saeco, which is owned by private equity firm Pai Partners, according to an unconfirmed report.
"There are talks open with different potential (buyers of Saeco control), but Philips is the most advanced in the due diligence," the report said. A second source said there are at least three possible buyers carrying out due diligence.
Philips declined to comment.
In the last few weeks media reports have spoken of other possible buyers such as Germany's WMF, France's SEB, Italy's N&W Vending, which is controlled by Barclays Private Equity and Investcorp, and Sweden's Electrolux.
Italy's De Longhi, also mentioned in reports, is "absolutely not interested", a third source said. The UK's Change Capital fund in a tie-up with Sergio Zappella, Saeco's former owner, is seen as another possible contender, along with various private equity groups, the reports said.
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