UPDATE 2-Rabobank weighs bids for asset manager Robeco

* Advent/CVC, AMG/Permira and Japan's Orix bid -sources

* AMG/Permira plan to split up Robeco -sources

* Robeco could fetch more than 2 bln euros -sources

(Adds details on Robeco sale, Maquarie, Robeco business)

By Simon Meads and Jessica Toonkel LONDON/NEW YORK, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Dutch bank Rabobank

is weighing three offers for its asset management armRobeco, facing a choice between bids to split the 2 billioneuro-plus ($2.6 billion) business or sell it in one piece,people familiar with the situation said.

The Netherlands' largest retail bank received bids from aprivate equity consortium of Advent International and CVC, and from Japanese financial services group Orix

for the asset management unit.

It received a third bid from Boston-based asset manager AMGInc , which in partnership with buyout firm Permira

wants to split up the business that spans Europe andthe United States, the people said.

Rabobank is in talks with various bidders and is evaluatingthe offers, one of the people said.

The cooperative bank, which is returning to its rootslending to Dutch farmers, put Robeco up for sale early this yearafter it lost its triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poor'sand sought to prepare for stricter capital rules for Europeanbanks.

Australian bank Macquarie remains interested in thebusiness but it is unclear whether it made a formal bid, some ofthe people said.

Initially valued at less than 2 billion euros, priceexpectations have soared, with one source saying the firm couldfetch as much as 3 billion euros.

The high price prompted some of the bidders to team up tobuy Robeco in what remains a challenging market for mergers andacquisitions in Europe, especially for private equity playersthat are struggling to secure finance for large deals.

The length of time taken to get to this stage in the biddinghas frustrated some who felt rushed into preparing throughoutAugust for bids in mid-September.

"While Deutsche Bank ruined Christmas, Robeco ruined summervacations," said a person close to one of the bidders.

Deutsche Bank attempted to sell its asset managementbusiness before halting the sale plans earlier this year.

Rabobank has told prospective buyers that it wants to sellthe business whole, people familiar with the process have said.

However AMG's bid with Permira wants to split the company,with the asset manager taking on Robeco's U.S. divisions, suchas Chicago-based Harbor Capital Advisors and Robeco InvestmentManagement, with offices in New York as Boston, two of thepeople said.

Permira would then pick up the group's European assets suchas Corestone and SAM Sustainable Asset Management in Switzerlandand Robeco Institutional Asset Management based in theNetherlands' second city Rotterdam.

While viewed as a better business than rival Dexia AssetManagement, which was also put up for sale earlier this year bythe Franco-Belgian bank Dexia, earnings at some of Robeco'sdivisions are volatile and that is provoking concerns among someof the prospective buyers, one of the sources said.

Robeco had 186 billion euros of assets under management atthe end of July, more than twice the size of Dexia AssetManagement.

Rabobank and Robeco declined to comment. The named biddersalso declined to comment or were unavailable for comment.

(Additional reporting by Sara Webb in Amsterdam; Editing byDouwe Miedema and Erica Billingham)

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