A private equity group made up of Bain Capital LLC and Golden Gate Capital Corp has emerged as the lead contender to buy BMC Software Inc for more than $6.5 billion, three people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Bain and Golden Gate offered more than a rival consortium of KKR & Co LP, TPG Capital LP and Thoma Bravo LLC, the sources said. The exact bids could not immediately be learned.

BMC Software has not granted exclusivity to Bain and Golden Gate and the rival consortium could still raise its bid, or the business technology company may yet decide not to sell at all, said the sources, who asked not to be identified as the matter is not public.

BMC Software, KKR and Thoma Bravo did not respond to requests for comment while TPG, Bain and Golden Gate declined to comment.

BMC Software shares ended trading at $45.58 on Tuesday, giving the company a value of $6.5 billion. It competes with Oracle Corp, SAP AG, CA Inc and Compuware and has been under pressure from Paul Singer's activist hedge fund Elliott Associates LP to sell itself since last year.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Gary Hill)