TotalEnergies is considering a bid for private equity-backed gas and oil producer Neptune Energy Group, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The French company is among the suitors that have held early-stage talks with Neptune, which could be valued at over $5 billion, the report added. Total and Neptune did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
In November, Reuters reported that Italy-based Eni was in preliminary talks to buy Neptune for around $5 billion to $6 billion.
Neptune, which was founded by the former head of Britain's Centrica Sam Laidlaw, has operations in Norway, Britain, Indonesia, Algeria, the Netherlands, among other geographies.
The company is owned by China Investment Corporation (CIC), the Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners.
Last year, Neptune was working on being "IPO ready" but the then financial markets conditions had made it difficult to launch one, Neptune CEO Pete Jones had said.
(Reuters - Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)