Coulson's Ardagh is back on the US acquisition trail
Ardagh Group is the lead bidder for assets that US based Ball Corp and Rexam are selling as part of their merger, people familiar with the matter said.
A decision on exclusivity could come as soon as this week, the people said, asking not to be named because the deliberations are private. No final decisions have been made and talks may still fall apart.
Apollo Global Management, Blackstone Group and Madison Dearborn Partners were also among bidders for the assets, which could fetch about $4bn (€3.5bn), people familiar with the matter said in March.
Ball and Rexam must sell 12 plants in order for their proposed merger to get comptetion authority approval, and Ardagh Group indicated previously that it would bid for the assets.
Ball, Rexam and Ardagh declined to comment.
Ardagh Group is controlled by Dublin financier Paul Coulson.
Its customers include globally-recognised household names such as Heineken, L'Oreal, Danone and Heinz.
Last month the Ardagh chairman and biggest shareholder told analysts that there is "nothing going on" in terms of current plans for a €2bn stock market flotation of part of the business.
The plan for an initial public offer (IPO) of shares in Ardagh's Oressa metals division in the US were shelved late last year, with the company blaming then volatile market conditions.
Those IPO plans could be revived as US markets recover, or alternatively Ardagh could potentially look to sell Oressa.