BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, is close to selling its stake in ABN AMRO TEDA Fund Management Co in China, in a step toward complying with Chinese mutual fund regulations.

Two Western financial groups are bidding for BNP's 49 percent stake in TEDA, and the deal may be closed soon, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said, declining to identify potential buyers or give financial details. The TEDA fund stake nearly sold for $230 million last year but the deal fell apart.

BNP Paribas, which owns three Chinese fund ventures after taking over Fortis of Belgium earlier this year, was preparing to exit two licenses, the sources said. China currently bars foreign investors from owning more than one fund venture.

We are currently reviewing the situation and all potentially viable options are being weighed, BNP Paribas Hong Kong spokeswoman Christine Chan said in an e-mail. We will announce definitive plans once we are at liberty to do so.

BNP paribas hasn't decided yet which venture to eventually keep -- SYWG BNP Paribas Asset Management Co or Fortis Haitong Investment Management Co -- although the latter is a more likely choice, said a source familiar with the management's position.

More than 30 foreign institutions, including JPMorgan, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley have formed fund ventures in China, while fund houses including Aberdeen Asset Management and T.Rowe Price are also seeking access to the country's $337 billion fund market. (US$1=6.832 Yuan)