Corsair hires banks to explore sale or IPO: sources

(Reuters) - Corsair Components, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of keyboards and computer peripherals aimed at the gaming market, is exploring a sale or an initial public offering that could value it at more than $1 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Any deal would come as Corsair’s sector has seen a boost from the rise of esports, a form of competitive video gaming with multiple players battling against each other, often in matches that are streamed live to throngs of young fans.

Mainstream brands and sponsors have been investing in upstart esports leagues and companies to get a slice of the fast-growing market and audience. Corsair’s website shows it has partnerships with both esports teams and tournaments.

Corsair, which is owned by private equity firm EagleTree Capital, has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Credit Suisse Group AG and Barclays Plc to assist it, the sources added, asking not to be named because the matter is private.

EagleTree declined to comment. Corsair and the banks did not respond to requests for comment.

Based in Fremont, California, Corsair makes high-performance gaming equipment, USB flash drives, keyboards, mice and headsets. It owns popular PC gaming brand Raptor Gaming, which it acquired in 2012. It competes with Razer Inc, SteelSeries, HyperX and Logitech International SA.

EagleTree, formerly known as Wasserstein Partners, acquired a majority stake in Corsair in 2017 for $525 million from buyout firm Francisco Partners. Investment Management Corporation of Ontario and the Honeywell pension fund also invested alongside EagleTree, according to a press release at the time.

Corsair tried to go public in 2012 but scrapped its plans and later accepted a private investment instead.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York and Joshua Franklin in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Carl O’Donnell; Editing by Dan Grebler