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KKR, CVC Pull Out of Coles Bid Consortium

Private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) said on Monday it had withdrawn from a consortium looking at bidding for Australian retailer Coles Group.

CVC, another private equity group, said earlier that it had pulled out of the consortium after conducting due diligence.

"I can confirm that KKR has joined CVC in withdrawing," a spokesman for KKR told Reuters.

The bid group had finished a two-week stint examining Coles' books on Friday. This included access to detailed financials, lease arrangements and supply contracts.

The group also includes Bain, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group and TPG.

Rival bidder Wesfarmers has already offered A$19.7 billion (US$16.2 billion) for Coles, and started due diligence on May 25.

The Australian conglomerate has teamed up with Macquarie Bank and private equity groups Permira and Pacific Equity Partners.

British retailer Tesco also hired an investment bank to look at a possible approach but later pulled out of the race.