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Investment fund Advantage Partners has emerged as the most likely buyer of a major stake in Tokyo Star Bank, held by U.S. fund Lone Star, sources said Thursday.

Tokyo Star Bank is the successor to Tokyo Sowa Bank, which collapsed in 1999 under the weight of bad loans. Lone Star acquired it in 2001, and the bank was listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2005.

Lone Star now owns about 70 percent of the Tokyo-based bank. It is not yet known how much of the Lone Star stake would be handed over to Advantage Partners if they make a stock acquisition deal, the sources said.

Although Advantage Partners and Lone Star do not agree on the acquisition terms, including the price, a deal might be struck later this month, the sources said.

Several financial institutions and investment funds, including Britain’s largest bank, HSBC, and U.S. investment fund TPG, had shown interest in acquiring Lone Star’s shareholdings in Tokyo Star Bank, they said.

Lone Star, which is looking for a capital gain, wants to sell more than one-third of its stake.

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