updated 1/9/2007 8:03:51 AM ET 2007-01-09T13:03:51

General Electric Co. is seeking bids for its plastics business, which is valued at up to $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site on Monday.

General Electric has told private-equity firms that they face restrictions on their ability to team up with other private-equity bidders, the Journal cited sources as saying.

(MSNBC is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal, which is a GE company.)

The exact nature of the restrictions is not known, but firms that are contacted may not call other firms about teaming up, the Journal reported, citing one source.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is acting on behalf of GE and has contacted potential plastics-industry bidders, the sources told the paper.

The New York Times reported in its Tuesday edition that Goldman Sachs had contacted at least four groups, including Apollo Management, Bain Capital, the Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

A GE spokesman declined to comment. Goldman declined to comment to the Journal.

The plastics business faced margin pressure in 2006 as a result of the rising price of benzene, a key raw material.

Lloyd Trotter, the GE vice chairman who serves as president and chief executive of GE's industrial unit, told investors late last year that one of his priorities would be to cut costs at the plastics unit.

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