| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Private equity-owned Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc, one of the largest U.S. providers of claims services, is exploring a sale that could value it at more than $2 billion, according to four people familiar with the matter.
Sedgwick, which was acquired by Stone Point Capital LLC and Hellman & Friedman LLC in 2010 for about $1.1 billion, has approached a small group of private equity buyers to gauge their interest, the people said on Friday.
Sedgwick has annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of a little over $200 million, and its owners are seeking 12 times that amount in a sale, one of the people added.
The sources asked not be identified because the matter is confidential. Sedgwick and Hellman & Freidman declined to comment, while Stone Point did not respond to a request for comment.
Founded in 1969, Memphis, Tennessee-based Sedgwick is major provider of claims processing and productivity management services specializing in workers' compensation, disability, automobile and professional liability, warranty and credit card claims services, and healthcare.
As a service provider to the insurance industry, Sedgwick has fairly stable earnings thanks to the high switching costs faced by customers, a stable cost structure and the lack of exposure to insurance underwriting risk, Moody's Investors Service Inc said earlier this year.
Sedgwick last changed ownership in May 2010, when Stone Point and Hellman & Friedman, together with the company's management, acquired it from Fidelity National Financial Inc (FNF.N), Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, Evercore Capital Partners and other minority shareholders.
The U.S. claims processing sector has seen a wave of private equity deals in the last two years as claims activity improves amid a modest economic recovery.
In October, Apax Partners LLP agreed to buy One Call Care Management Inc, a medical cost containment services company, and Align Networks Inc, a provider of workers' compensation physical medicine programs, to merge the two in a deal approaching $3 billion.
This followed KKR & Co LP's (KKR.N) $1.1 billion acquisition of car and property claims software company Mitchell International Inc, which was announced in September.
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis, Jessica Toonkel and Soyoung Kim in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)