Italian credit group Cerved is in advanced talks with U.S. investment firm Centerbridge to clinch the long-awaited sale of its debt collection arm which is valued at about 400 million euros ($476.68 million)

The unit has also drawn interest from Italian real estate and credit management firm Prelios and other private equity funds including Apollo and Apax, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Centerbridge is the frontrunner in the discussions and could clinch a deal in the coming weeks, possibly paving the way to a full takeover of Milan-listed Cerved which has been on the radar screen of several heavyweight buyout funds in recent years, the sources said.

Cerved, Prelios and Apax declined to comment while Centerbridge and Apollo were not immediately available for comment.

Cerved, which has a market value of 1.4 billion euros, came close to selling its credit management unit to Intrum, Europe’s biggest loan recovery firm, in February 2020 – just weeks before a deadly coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy.

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Source: Reuters