US investors Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Lone Star Funds are expected to buy Anglo Irish Bank's US loan portfolio.

The Department of Finance has declined to comment.

The auction attracted more than two dozen buyers and the sale is not expected to be finalised until the end of the year.

The total price paid for all the loans was between $7bn (€4.8bn) and $8billion (€5.5bn).

To attract a large pool of potential buyers, the portfolio was broken into eight separate sections according to the performance of the loans and the length to maturity.

The first three pools contained performing loans.

JPMorgan was the winner of the first tranche comprising loans with a balance of about $1bn to $1.5bn.

Wells Fargo won the second and third tranches valued at about $3bn to $3.5bn.

Wells Fargo recently bought a $1.4bn performing loan portfolio from the failed Bank of Ireland for about par.

Global distressed debt and equity investor Lone Star won the remaining five pools of sub-performing and non-performing loans. The five pools have a face value of about $5bn.

Those loans, which could lead to the buyer either getting the property or restructuring the loans, had attracted other private equity firms, such as TPG Capital LP and Blackstone Group LP.

The winners were notified last Thursday night.

The pools have also been split along the lines of property types, hotels, apartments, condominiums, offices and warehouses.

Anglo Irish and a spokesman for JPMorgan declined to comment.

Representatives from Loan Star and Wells Fargo could not be reached for comment.

Other bidders who were either part of the first or second round of bids included Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Starwood Capital, and Torchlight Investors, an independent adviser focused on commercial real estate debt investments.

Anglo Irish was one of the most aggressive lenders during the US commercial property boom of 2003-2007, but its risk strategy brought it and the Irish economy to the brink of collapse and forced Dublin to seek an €85bn EU-IMF bailout last year.

Its US portfolio is its premium stock of assets, and a successful sale would represent a huge boost for the Irish Government, which has vowed to radically shrink its banking sector and reduce its reliance on emergency funding from the European Central Bank (ECB).

The loans to be sold are secured by a diverse group of more than 280 properties, including office buildings in Massachusetts and retail properties in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.

It also includes apartment buildings in New York City and Boston, warehouses and gas stations in the Midwest, and hotels from Florida to Maine.