Strong Capital took one step closer to selling off its assets, as six bidders, mostly U.S. banks, reportedly threw their hats in the ring before the firm’s imposed deadline.

Strong, one of the firms at the center of the trading scandal in the fund industry has seen massive outflows and is looking to get a deal done quickly to maximize its value and salvage what it can from the firm’s assets.

The sale seems to be a foregone conclusion, even though the firm insists that a sale is just one option it is considering. The firm had set a deadline of Wednesday night for potential buyers to indicate whether they want to continue negotiations, Reuters reports.

Wachovia, KeyCorp, Wells Fargo, and Bank One, as well as insurer New York Life Insurance and Lehman Brothers are the firms reportedly in the running. While the firms involved were not required to place a bid, Goldman Sachs, which was retained by Strong to assist in the sale, asked interested parties to provide a range in which they would bid.

Strong will apparently sell off its assets, leaving a shell of a company to face regulators and potential lawsuits. Most expect the deal to be for less than the $1 billion price tag that was originally speculated.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.