NEW YORK, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Industrial machinery maker Gardner Denver Inc is exploring a sale and has drawn initial interest from several major private equity firms, according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that would top $3 billion.
Gardner Denver's bankers at Goldman Sachs Group have started to reach out to potential buyers in recent weeks and have asked for first-round bids by Nov. 5, the people said on Thursday. The company may still decide not to sell after it completes the process, they added.
TPG Capital LP, Onex Corp, KKR & Co LP, Blackstone Group LP and Bain Capital LLC are among the buyout firms considering offers, the people said. TPG and Onex are expected to bid jointly, two of the people added.
Gardner Denver has a market value of about $2.7 billion and long-term debt of some $400 million. The Wayne, Pennsylvania-based company, Goldman Sachs and the private equity firms did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The move to solicit offers follows months of pressure from activist investor ValueAct Capital LLC, which has been calling for a sale of the company after acquiring a roughly 5 percent stake. ValueAct did not respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Soyoung Kim in New York)