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There are reports out of Australia that private equity group The Blackstone Group has decided to pull out of a consortium angling to make a bid for the Coles Group, the nation’s second largest retailer, a move that analysts say will give fresh momentum to a bid by DIY chain Wesfarmers, which has been working on a competitive bid.

Blackstone is just the latest member of the consortium to pull out; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) pulled out a few weeks ago, and it has been speculated that the Carlyle Group also is rumored to be ready to leave the group.

Woolworths, Australia’s largest retailer, also reportedly is readying a bid for the pieces of Coles that would be non-competitive.
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