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SYDNEY, May 18 (Reuters) - Australian newspaper publisher Fairfax Media Ltd on Thursday said it would grant due diligence access to two rival private equity bidders after U.S. buyout firm Hellman & Friedman made a surprise takeover proposal of as much as A$2.87 billion ($2.13 billion).
The non-binding cash offer from Hellman & Friedman values Fairfax at A$1.225 to A$1.25 a share, compared to an earlier offer from TPG Capital Management and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board of A$1.20 a share, the Australian company said.
"We have carefully considered the indicative proposals and believe it is in the best interests of shareholders to grant both parties due diligence to explore whether a potential whole of company proposal is available," Fairfax Chairman Nick Falloon said in a statement.
The proposals remain subject to conditions including the successful completion of due diligence and foreign investment approvals. ($1 = 1.3444 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Jamie Freed; editing by Grant McCool)