US-based investment fund Platinum Equity is reportedly interested in buying a chunk of Unilever‘s spreads business, with the deadline for the bids for the division said to be next week.

Citing unnamed sources, Reuters reported Platinum Equity was looking at Unilever’s spreads assets in markets such as North America and Europe, rather than the parts of the business in emerging markets.

Reuters said the deadline for suitors to bid for Unilever’s spreads division, which has been reported to have attracted a number of private-equity firms, is 11 December.

Unilever said in April it planned to exit the spreads category, a sector under pressure and in which the company has been struggling to grow in recent years.

In September, Unilever announced the sale of its spreads business in southern Africa to South Africa-based investment firm Remgro, which among its assets includes a majority stake in local food group RCL Foods, already a notable player in the category locally.

Last month, Sky News reported Unilever had drawn up a shortlist of four suitors interested in buying some or all of its remaining spreads assets.

The broadcaster claimed the Flora and Becel owner had asked private-equity firms Apollo Global, CVC Capital Partners, KKR and Platinum Equity to table new offers for the assets.