(Bloomberg) -- European private equity firm Ardian is considering a potential offer for a controlling stake in telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi’s French fiber company XpFibre, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

KKR & Co. and Global Infrastructure Partners are also vying for the business, which builds and operates fiber-to-the-home infrastructure in France, the people said. KKR is the most advanced bidder in the process, having started carrying out due diligence on the company earlier this year, the people said. 

A deal could value XpFibre, which is owned by Drahi’s Altice France, at around €6 billion to €7 billion including debt, the people said. XpFibre had about €2.5 billion of net debt as of 2023, according to a September investor presentation. 

Bloomberg News previously reported that KKR and Macquarie Group Ltd. were shortlisted in the bidding. Deliberations are ongoing and there’s no certainty they will result in a deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. 

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Altice France owns 50.01% of XpFibre, while the balance is held by a consortium majority-led by OMERS Infrastructure that also includes Allianz Capital Partners and AXA IM Real Assets. The OMERS consortium acquired its 49.99% stake for €1.7 billion in 2019, valuing the unit at €3.4 billion, according to a statement at the time. 

Representatives for Altice, Ardian, GIP and KKR declined to comment. 

The asset sale comes as Drahi seeks to reduce borrowings at his sprawling telecom empire. The debt of the overall group — including Altice France, Altice International and the listed Altice USA — stands at around $60 billion. Last month, the Paris-based company told creditors that they would need to participate in “discounted transactions” in order for the company to lower its debt load to 4 times a measure of earnings, down from the current 6.4 times.

Drahi started dismantling his debt-fueled empire last year in a bid to tackle mounting financing costs amid a corruption probe that ensnared Altice co-founder Armando Pereira and led to the termination of more than a dozen employees.

Read More: Billionaire Drahi Cornered by Debt Mountain, Corruption Scandal

--With assistance from Swetha Gopinath.

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