(Bloomberg) -- The auction for Subway is expected to come to a head in about a month, with about a half-dozen parties still vying for the sandwich chain, including private equity firms Roark Capital Group and London-based TDR Capital, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Advent International is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s asset management arm on a bid while Sycamore Partners is also in the mix, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. Bain Capital and TPG Inc. have dropped out of the process, the people said. 

Subway is expected to fetch more than $9 billion, according to one of the people, after initially seeking more than $10 billion. The company is expected to pick a winner by around July 4, the people said. The people said other suitors are still in the auction, though their identities couldn’t be determined. 

Subway, one of the world’s largest restaurant chains with about 37,000 franchise-run locations in more than 100 countries, said in February it was exploring a sale and working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. 

The auction started in late January with the expectation that it would take around six months, one of the people said. The company initially drew about 20 bids but that has since been winnowed down about a half-dozen suitors, with the remaining parties partnering with co-investors, the person said. While JPMorgan is offering some financing to the eventual buyer, bidders are free to choose their own source of debt, the people said. 

Representatives for Roark didn’t respond to requests for comment while representatives for the suitors all declined to comment. A representative for Subway declined to comment. 

One of the most recognizable names in fast-food, Subway is the largest restaurant chain in the country by store count, dwarfing names like McDonald’s Corp. and Burger King. 

The company’s profitability has been squeezed as it spends money to overhaul stores to keep up with those rivals, which have been investing heavily to beautify locations and buildup their online capabilities. It’s also been grappling with stiffening competition from upstart sandwich chains such as Jersey Mike’s Subs. 

“Subway is focusing on strategic brand growth to boost franchisee profitability and protect the brand’s position in the market,” the company said in February, announcing 2022 results. 

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