By Anshuman Daga and Takashi Umekawa
SINGAPORE, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group's (SMFG) 8316.T chances of acquiring a majority stake in Indonesia's PT Bank Permata BNLI.JK have improved after two key rivals dropped out of the race to buy the $2.4 billion-valued lender, sources said on Friday.
While Singapore lenders OCBC Group Holdings OCBC.SI and DBS Group Holdings Ltd DBSM.SI had shown interest in the auction for mid-sized Permata, they are no longer pursing it, according to multiple sources, who declined to be named because they were not authorised to talk to the media.
One of the sources said SMFG was in advanced talks to negotiate terms for the purchase of the bank, in which Standard Chartered Plc STAN.L (StanChart) and Indonesian conglomerate PT Astra International ASII.JK each own a 45% stake.
The source said SMFG had not secured exclusivity.
Reuters was not able to ascertain if any other bidders were in the race. Sources had previously said that in addition to SMFG, Southeast Asian banks were interested in Permata.
Reuters reported last week that SMFG and OCBC were working on competing offers and were seen as the frontrunners for Permata.
Takeover interest in Permata gained ground this year after StanChart said in February that its investment in the bank was no longer core, signalling it was open to selling its stake. Permata shares have surged about 80 percent so far this year.
Standard Chartered, SMFG, OCBC and DBS declined comment, while there was no immediate response from Astra to a Reuters query.
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Takashi Umekawa; Additional reportingby Fransiska Nangoy in Jakarta; Editing by David Clarke, Raju Gopalakrishnan)
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