CDH Said Near Exit From Auction of Tommee Tippee Maker Mayborn

  • Carlyle said to be in lead after competing with Chinese firm
  • 3i-owned Mayborn sells products in more than 70 countries

China’s CDH Investments Fund Management Co. is close to dropping out of the bidding for Mayborn Group Ltd., the British maker of the Tommee Tippee line of baby bottles and toddler cups, which would leave U.S. buyout firm Carlyle Group LP as the likeliest buyer, according to people familiar with the matter.

Private equity firm 3i Group Plc, Mayborn’s owner, had narrowed the potential buyer list down to CDH, a Chinese private-equity firm, and Carlyle, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. No final decision has been made, and 3i could still opt for a different bidder or decide against a sale, the people said.

Representatives for 3i, CDH and Carlyle declined to comment.

3i took Cramlington, England-based Mayborn private for 200 million euros ($224 million) in 2006, according to its website. Mayborn’s products are sold in more than 70 countries, including the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

3i Group may seek more than $350 million for the asset, people familiar with the matter said last month. Mayborn had attracted interest from Asian companies, including China’s Goodbaby International Holdings Ltd., and private-equity firms, they said at the time.

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