September 16, 2014 / 3:21 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 3-Sale of storage company PODS being explored -sources

(Adds details on PODS Enterprises CEO)

By Greg Roumeliotis and Soyoung Kim

NEW YORK, Sept 16 (Reuters) - PODS Enterprises Inc, a U.S. moving and storage company managed by members of the private equity firm Eagle Merchant Partners, is exploring a sale that could value it at around $1 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

PODS Enterprises, overseen by partners of Atlanta-based Eagle Merchant and owned by restructured Bahraini investment firm Arcapita Bank BSCC, has hired Barclays Plc to assist with the sale process, one of the sources said.

The sources asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Spokespeople for PODS Enterprises and Eagle Merchant had no immediate comment. Barclays declined to comment.

Founded in 1998, PODS Enterprises delivers containers to customers who use them for moving or storing belongings. It operates in 48 U.S. states, Canada, Australia and Britain through its company-owned and franchise network.

The Clearwater, Florida-based company said on its website it has carried out more than 2 million deliveries and nearly 142,000 PODS containers, as big as 16 by eight feet, in service. It loads the containers onto its trucks through a patented hydraulic lift system it calls PODZILLA.

PODS was acquired by Arcapita in 2008 for $451.4 million. Arcapita filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2012 under hedge fund pressure ahead of the repayment of a $1.1 billion loan that was compliant under Islamic law.

Arcapita’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy process was the first to be undertaken by a Gulf Arab entity. It also was the first time an Islamic legal ruling had been presented to a U.S. bankruptcy judge.

The process ensured Arcapita’s portfolio could be sold without going through a fire sale. Eagle Merchant assumed the management of the U.S. companies in Arcapita’s private equity portfolio, including PODS.

Arcapita emerged from bankruptcy protection last year.

Women’s retailer J. Jill, another Arcapita company, is also exploring a sale, sources said earlier this year.

Arcapita has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co to lead an initial public offering of Viridian Group IPO-VIRI.L in a deal that could give the Irish energy company an enterprise value, including debt, of nearly 1 billion pounds ($1.62 billion), Reuters reported last month.

In February, it also agreed to sell U.S.-based Varel International Inc, a manufacturer of drill bits for the oil and gas industry, to Sweden’s Sandvik AB for $740 million.

PODS, which stands for Portable On Demand Storage, was founded by Peter Warhurst, who left the company when he sold it to Arcapita. The current chief executive of PODS is John Koch, a former senior executive at home security company ADT Corp . (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Andrew Hay)

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