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British motor insurer Sabre to pursue $800 million listing - sources

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British motor insurer Sabre to pursue $800 million listing - sources

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By Ben Martin and Carolyn Cohn LONDON (Reuters) – British motor insurer Sabre is planning an initial public offering (IPO) that could value it at 600 million pounds ($800 million) after failing to find a buyer, sources with knowledge of the matter said. Sabre’s private equity owner BC Partners is looking to list the Dorking-based firm in London in the coming months following an unsuccessful joint approach from U.S. investment firm Centerbridge and Qatar Reinsurance Company, two sources said. The company, which is behind the Insure 2 Drive, Go Girl and Drive Smart brands, is no longer in takeover negotiations and has begun talking to fund managers as it focuses solely on building interest in a stock market listing, the sources said. Barclays and Numis have been retained as lead financial advisers on the flotation, which is slated for either later this year or early in the first quarter of 2018, they said. Sabre’s listed rivals include Admiral <ADML.L>, esure <ESUR.L> and Direct Line <DLGD.L>, which trade at between eight and 12 times core earnings, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. Motor insurers have come under scrutiny after a change to the way personal injury claims are calculated, which pushed up the size of those claims and dented insurers’ profits. However, the UK government is now proposing to change the rate again in a way which will benefit insurers. Rising motor insurance premiums are also making the outlook more attractive for the sector, analysts say. BC Partners took a majority stake in Sabre in 2013 in a 240 million-pound deal. Sabre’s float adds to a growing list of financial services companies whose investors have chosen to cash out. They include buy-to-let mortgage specialist Charter Court Financial Services, backed by Elliott, and debt collection firm Cabot Credit Management, which is held by JC Flowers and Encore Capital Group.

(Reporting by Ben Martin and Carolyn Cohn; editing by Alexander Smith)
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