MILAN, May 3 (Reuters) - Intesa Sanpaolo is in talks to sell 2.5 billion euros in bad loans to a duo comprising U.S. firm Christofferson Robb & Company (CRC) and problem loan manager Bayview Asset Management, three sources close to the matter said on Wednesday.
The sources said Intesa had not yet entered into an exclusivity agreement with CRC, which may give other bidders a chance to re-enter the game.
Two consortia comprising Apollo Global Management in tandem with Credito Fondiario on one side and Cerberus Capital Management in tandem with Cerved on the other were also in the running for the sale, dubbed "Beyond the clouds".
Italian banks are under pressure by European Central Bank supervisors to cut problem loans that amount to nearly one fifth of overall lending on an aggregate basis.
Bad loans or "sofferenze" are the worst kind of soured debts, where borrowers have defaulted or are deemed insolvent. Banks are also beginning to tackle so-called unlikely-to-pay loans, to prevent them from turning into bad debts, to comply with ECB's guidelines.
One source said Intesa was working also on a second project involving unlikely-to-pay loans and aimed to join forces with an investor that would help it better manage the portfolio by working on the assets pledged as collateral.
A second source said binding bids for this 1.35 billion euro portfolio, dubbed "Project Rep", were due by May 19.
The first source said around a dozen international investors had shown an interest as they bet on a recovery in the Italian property market.
Bidders are expected to include Fortress, Apollo, Cerberus Capital Management, Pimco in tandem with servicer GWM Capital Advisors, Starwood Capital in tandem with San Francisco-based TPG.
All the interested parties declined to comment. (Reporting by Massimo Gaia and Gianluca Semeraro, additional reporting and writing by Valentina Za, editing by Stephen Jewkes)