By Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis
NEW YORK, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Utex Industries, a U.S. manufacturer of sealing products and services used for oil and gas drilling, is exploring a sale of the company that could fetch as much as $800 million, two people familiar with the matter said.
New York-based private equity firm Rhone Capital, which acquired Utex for an undisclosed sum in 2010, has hired Lazard Ltd to conduct a sale, one of the sources said.
An auction of Utex is in the second round and has attracted interest from private equity firms, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is not public.
Rhone Group, Lazard and Utex Industries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Founded in 1940 and based in Houston, Texas, Utex makes what are known in the industry as highly engineered specialty sealing solutions and downhole consumables used for oil and gas drilling, as well as water management and mining, according to its website.
Rhone Capital, an investment arm of Rhone Group LLC, specializes in middle market leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and partnership financings.