| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Troubled life insurer and annuity provider The Phoenix Companies Inc PNX.N has hired investment banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and Sandler O'Neill and Partners to explore a sale, according to people familiar with the matter.
Shares of the Hartford, Connecticut-based insurance holding company, which had a market capitalization of around $271 million, soared more than 14 percent on the news.
Phoenix launched its sale process earlier this month, contacting potential buyers, the people said.
Representatives from Phoenix, Goldman Sachs and Sandler O'Neill declined to comment.
On April 1, Phoenix restated its 2012 audited financials with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company's 2013 annual filings were subsequently delayed, and are now due to be filed with the regulators on August 6.
Phoenix has two main divisions, Phoenix Life Insurance Company and its annuity business, PHL Variable Insurance Company.
(Reporting By Mike Stone in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)