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Stada says starts due diligence in M&A process

FRANKFURT, Feb 25 (Reuters) - German generic drugs maker Stada Arzneimittel said on Saturday it had started a structured bidding process after receiving takeover bids from three buyout groups.

"For this purpose, a data room has been established and the potential bidders - three to date - have been invited to conduct multi-stage due diligence," Stada said in a statement.

Stada has become the subject of a three-way bidding war between Advent, Cinven and a third buyout group that sources identified as Bain Capital.

Due diligence gives potential buyers access to the target's books and data.

Activist investor AOC, Stada's biggest investor with a stake of more than 5 percent, a called a day earlier for the company's management and supervisory boards to run a non-biased, transparent sales process.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; editing by David Clarke)