GLOBAL - ING Real Estate Investment Management has confirmed it is in discussions with "several parties" on a possible sale of parts of its business after media reports claimed CBRE was the front-runner in the bidding process.

ING REIM has clarified the discussions could potentially lead to "one or more transactions" relating to its business, but said any speculation on scope, pricing or conditions would be "premature".

Press reports over the weekend claimed CBRE, the world's largest real estate consultancy group, was favourite to the win a buyout or merger.

CBRE already owns CBRE Investors, a real estate investment manager that operates independently of its parent company and has approximately $35.7bn (€26.9bn) in assets under management globally.

A merger of CBRE Investor and ING REIM, the largest global real estate investment manager, could see the creation of fund management giant with close to $100bn in global real estate assets.

This might not happen, however, given that ING REIM's latest statement suggests there could be a breakup of the company, with more than one transaction taking place.

Other companies reported to be bidding for the ING REIM business include Vornado Realty Trust and Jones Lang LaSalle, the latter a direct rival for CBRE.

Dutch banking group ING hired Morgan Stanley in 2010 to facilitate a sale of its real estate investment management business as part of the bank's move to focus on core business lines.