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Dec 3 (Reuters) - RPC Group Plc has ended talks to be taken over by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital, it said on Monday, leaving Apollo Global Management in the lead to buy Europe's biggest plastics packager.
RPC said discussions with Apollo, a New York-listed private equity firm, were ongoing. It has given Apollo time until Dec. 21 to make firm buyout offers or walk away, in the third extension of a deadline.
Shares of London-listed RPC have gained about 5 percent since reports of merger talks emerged in September.
RPC, which provides packaging services to a range of products from coffee capsules to healthcare products with 188 operations in 33 countries, said last week earnings in the first half of the year had fallen 4.5 percent.
The packaging industry has seen a raft of deals this year, with Australia's Amcor Ltd buying U.S. firm Bemis Co for $5.25 billion and DS Smith Plc spending about $2.2 billion to acquire Spanish rival Europac. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)