(Reuters) - Private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) to explore a sale of logistics provider Jacobson Companies Inc, hoping to fetch as much as $700 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
An auction for Jacobson is expected to start in the next few weeks, the people said this week. The company has annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of around $75 million, they added.
The sources asked not to be identified because the process is confidential. Oak Hill Capital declined to comment while Jacobson and JPMorgan representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Jacobson is the fourth largest provider of warehousing and third-party logistics services in the United States, according to its website. It has more than 32 million square feet of warehouse space and over 6,000 employees at 141 locations, and manages more than $650 million of freight, the website states.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based company was started by Richard Jacobson in 1968 with the purchase of a 96,000-square-foot warehouse.
Jacobson was sold to Oak Hill Capital in 2007 by private equity firm Norwest Equity Partners, which retained a minority stake in the company. The value of the deal was not disclosed but supply chain market research firm Armstrong & Associates Inc pegged it at $500 million.
Oak Hill Capital then merged Jacobson with another of its portfolio companies called Arnold Logistics LLC. Jacobson said last year it had divested its international logistics business through two separate management buyout transactions.
Other private equity deals in the logistics sector in the last two years include Platinum Equity LLC’s $750 million takeover of Caterpillar Inc’s (CAT.N) logistics services unit in 2012 and Centerbridge Partners LP’s minority equity investment in Syncreon Holdings Ltd last year.
Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr