PARIS, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Investors looking to buy at least 51 percent of the property unit of French hotel group AccorHotels are due to submit their letters of intent in October, French daily Les Echos said on Friday.
French asset manager Amundi, U.S. property group Colony North Star, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund have been in the running for several months though other contenders could join the race, the paper said, without citing its sources.
AccorHotels declined to comment while Amundi, Colony North Star, GIC and PIF could not be immediately reached for comment.
In June, AccorHotels boss Sebastien Bazin told shareholders his group was in "extremely active" discussions with potential investors over the property unit and that he hoped to seal a deal by autumn or the end of the year.
The plan is aimed at giving AccorHotels, Europe's largest hotel group, greater financial leeway to speed up growth and better fight the rising challenges of companies such as Airbnb or online travel agents such as Expedia.
At the June meeting, AccorHotels shareholders had approved plans to turn the HotelInvest property business, worth 6.6 billion euros, into a separate entity to be known as AccorInvest prior to selling part of its capital to institutional investors.
Bazin had said he was confident AccorInvest, which has some 960 hotels in 26 countries and employs 40,000 people, could be worth more than 10 billion euros in the longer-term. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Leigh Thomas)