Exclusive: U.S. insurance broker Confie explores $1.6 billion sale - sources

(Reuters) - Confie, a U.S. insurance brokerage focused primarily on Hispanic consumers, is exploring a sale that could value it at as much as $1.6 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

ABRY Partners, the private equity firm that owns Confie, has hired investment bank Guggenheim Partners LLC to run an auction for the company, the people said.

Confie is expected to generate $134 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization this year, and more than $150 million in 2016, one of the people added.

The sources asked not to be named because the sale process is confidential. Representatives for Confie did not return requests for comment. Representatives for ABRY and Guggenheim declined to comment.

Founded in 2008, Confie is a Huntington Beach, California-based insurance brokerage most known for auto insurance services, although is also expanding into health insurance. ABRY acquired a majority stake in 2012 in the company, formerly known as Confie Seguros, from Genstar Capital for an undisclosed amount.

Confie has been rapidly acquiring smaller brokerages in the hopes of growing beyond its primary markets and establishing a national footprint. It has acquired over 90 businesses since its inception, according to its website.

Private equity-owned insurance brokerages have seen a spate of deals this year. Buyout firm Apax Partners LLP, for example, agreed to acquire AssuredPartners Inc in July from GTCR LLC, while in June Stone Point Capital LLC invested in KKR & Co LP's KKR.N Alliant Insurance Services.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Mike Stone in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman