FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German utility RWE (GER:RWE) is asking potential buyers of its oil and gas unit DEA (RWEDE.UL) to submit offers by late December in a deal that could fetch up to 5 billion euros (4.2 billion pounds), three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Wintershall, the oil and gas arm of German chemicals group BASF (GER:BAS), has been the only group to publicly express interest in DEA so far.
Private equity investors such as KKR (NYS:KKR) and Blackstone (NYS:BX) are also likely to hand in bids, while British energy supplier Centrica (LSE:CNA) is expected to show interest as well, the sources said.
RWE, KKR, Blackstone and Centrica all declined to comment.
(Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Christoph Steitz; Additional reporting by Alexander Huebner in Frankfurt, Aizhu Chen in Beijing, Dinesh Nair in Dubai and Sarah Young in London; Editing by Jonathan Gould)