Turkish conglomerate Yildiz Holding has launched the sale of its Godiva chocolate’s Japanese business with the first round of the auction set to close early next month, according to news agency Reuters .

Quoting “sources who asked not be identified because the sale process is private”, Reuters reported that while valuations are not set, some sources estimate the business to be worth close to US$1bn.

It was reported late last month Yildiz Holding was said to be exploring the sale of the Japanese business of the luxury chocolate maker with the process to dispose of the business expected to start in the coming weeks

Reuters reports that revenues at Godiva’s Japanese business have almost tripled since 2010 to reach JPY39.8bn US($353.6m) in 2017.

Yildiz, which owns brands including McVitie’s biscuits and Flipz chocolate pretzels, bought Godiva in 2007.

Reuters‘ sources suggested that the sale of Godiva in Japan is most likely to attract private-equity buyers hungry for assets.

A spokesperson for Godiva told just-food: “Japan is one of our most successful regions and continues to grow. We have delivered great customer experience, consumer coveted innovation and new channel expansion. At this moment, we have nothing further to comment.”