Godiva, the chocolate brand owned by Turkey’s Yildiz Holding, may be nearing a sale for its Asia-Pacific assets, with a string of private-equity funds and buy-out firms reportedly selected as final bidders.

Baring Private Equity Asia and CVC Capital Partners are among the candidates that have been picked to make final offers for the assets, according to Bloomberg, quoting sources who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

MBK Partners and Marunouchi Capital, which is part of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp., are the buy-out investors that have also been selected, Bloomberg reported today (18 January). 

It had previously been speculated by media the Godiva business up for sale was located in Japan, but Bloomberg reported in November that the assets could also include operations in South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The financial news agency’s sources said the assets could fetch around US$1.5bn.

Yildiz, which also owns the UK-based McVitie’s biscuit brand, is said by the sources to be asking for final offers to be submitted in the next few weeks. The sources quoted by Bloomberg said no final decision on a sale has as yet been made, and details of the potential deal may change. 

A potential deal for Yildiz in Japan could help alleviate the weight of the company’s debt. In March, the Istanbul-based firm and the owner of UK snacks group Pladis, was reportedly seeking to relieve the burden of crippling debt payments with a plan to refinance as much as $7bn.

Godiva’s Japanese operations are reportedly the largest of the regional businesses up for offer, with sales in 2017 of $350m, according to Bloomberg.

just-food has approached Godiva for comment, but had not received a response at the time of writing. Meanwhile, Baring Private Equity Asia and CVC Capital Partners both declined to comment when contacted by this publication.

Calls put in by just-food to MBK Partners’ offices in Japan and Hong Kong, and Marunouchi Capital in Tokyo, went unanswered outside of business hours today.