UPDATE 1-Japan's Orix in talks to buy Dutch asset manager Robeco
(Recasts with newspaper report)
AMSTERDAM, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Japanese financial services firm Orix Corp 8591.T said it is in talks to buy Dutch asset manager Robeco from its owner Rabobank as a local newspaper reported the companies are close to reaching a deal.
Robeco was preparing a press conference on the takeover, Dutch financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. It said the intent was to inform Orix shareholders about the deal because asset management is a relatively new type of business for the Japanese firm.
An Orix spokesman said the company was in talks to buy Robeco, though he said nothing final had been decided.
"It is still under negotiations, still too early to talk about any detail that has been decided," Orix investor relations spokesman Gregory Melchior told Reuters by phone from Tokyo.
The asset management arm of Rabobank could fetch around 3 billion euros ($4 billion), a person familiar with the matter told Reuters in December, when Australia's Macquarie Group and Orix were in the running to buy Robeco.
A Rabobank spokesman reiterated the bank was "reviewing all strategic options" for Robeco.
The Dutch cooperative bank, which is returning to its roots lending to local farmers, first said in April it was reviewing strategic options for Robeco after it lost its triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poor's in November 2011.
Rabobank sold its majority stake in private Swiss bank Sarasin for 1.04 billion Swiss francs ($1.14 billion) in 2011.
The Dutch newspaper said Robeco's chief executive, Roderick Munsters, could remain in his job after the Orix takeover, and Robeco, which manages 186 billion euros, would not be split in different businesses. ($1 = 0.7427 euros) ($1 = 0.9157 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Mark Potter and Hans-Juergen Peters)