TPG Capital, the leveraged-buyout firm started by David Bonderman, twice came close to buying companies at auction in the same week. Both times, it lost to a corporation offering to pay more.

The firm bid about 490 million pounds ($806 million) for London-based shoe designer Jimmy Choo Ltd., according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Labelux Group GmbH, the owner of Bally footwear, won the auction on May 22 by paying about 12 percent more and offering a stake to Tamara Mellon, Jimmy Choo's co-founder, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks were private. Three days earlier, Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. acquired Landis+Gyr AG, a Swiss electronic-metering company TPG was also vying to buy, for $2.3 billion, two people with knowledge of the transaction said.

After rebuilding cash reserves, companies are resuming acquisitions and competing against private-equity firms for the same assets. Worldwide, companies with market values of at least $2 billion had cash and near-cash items of $8.6 trillion in the latest reported year, 21 percent more than the previous year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Pressure from so-called trade buyers is making it harder for LBO firms to invest and reap returns on the $400 billion of funds they have to spend.

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