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CVC selling Asian funeral business Nirvana, seeks as much as $2 billion -sources

FILE PHOTO: A salesperson talks to potential customers at the columbarium section of Nirvana Memorial Park in Shah Alam outside Kuala Lumpur September 5, 2010.

By Yantoultra Ngui and Kane Wu

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG (Reuters) -Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is selling Malaysian funeral services provider Nirvana Asia Ltd in a deal that could fetch up to $2 billion, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The sale process, which is being run by Morgan Stanley, has entered its second round of bids, two of the people said.

Suitors in the second round are mostly strategic buyers based outside Asia, said one of the people and a separate person with knowledge of the deal.

An infrastructure fund is also in the mix, said one of the people.

Binding bids are due in a few weeks, said a fifth source. All sources declined to be identified as the information was confidential.

Nirvana did not immediately respond to requests for comment. CVC, Morgan Stanley and Nirvana's founder David Kong declined to comment.

Betting on increased demand for luxury funerals in the region, CVC bought the business for $1.1 billion in 2016. CVC attempted to sell it two years later but talks with a number of companies and private equity funds at the time fell through, people with knowledge of the earlier sale plan have said.

Founded in 1990, Nirvana provides funeral, burial and cremation services for humans and pets. It also has a presence in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, according to its website.

(Reporting by Yantoulra Ngui in Singapore and Kane Wu in Hong Kong; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and David Evans)