By Francesca Landini
MILAN (Reuters) - U.S. packaged food giant Kraft Heinz has launched the sale of its baby food brand Plasmon with preliminary bids due by the end of next week, two sources close to the matter said.
Private equity firms and food groups are looking at the business, both sources said, adding it could be worth about 700 million euros (603.4 million pounds).
Another source said PAI Partners was among investors expected to present a preliminary bid, adding that rival private equity firm Cinven could also be interested.
Plasmon is mainly based in Italy and Kraft intends to sell it to focus on its global brands, one of the sources said.
According to Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Kraft Heinz has hired U.S. bank JPMorgan to advise on the sale.
Kraft Heinz, PAI Partners, Cinven and JPMorgan declined to comment.
Plasmon, founded in 1902, sells a range of baby foods including first milk, pasta and fruit compote. It is best known for its baby biscuits made with powdered milk, vitamins and minerals.
Its annual revenue is more 200 million euros and core earnings are around 50 million euros. ($1 = 0.8935 euros)
(Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Edmund Blair)