By David French and Greg Roumeliotis
(Reuters) – Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP <CG.O> is in talks to acquire Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc, the largest U.S. insurance claims service provider, for more than $6 billion (£4.6 billion), including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Private equity firms have been prolific investors in businesses that help companies cut costs by outsourcing large parts of their administrative functions, since such operations can generate strong cash flows. A few years after they invest, they seek to sell ownership of those assets at a big profit.
Carlyle has made a higher offer for Sedgwick than buyout firm Hellman & Friedman LLC, a former owner of the company that is also competing to acquire it, the sources said, cautioning that the outcome had not been finalised and no deal is certain.
Sedwick’s owners, buyout firm KKR & Co LP <KKR.N>, Stone Point Capital and Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), are hoping they can clinch a deal as early as this week, the sources said. In an unusual move that limited the participation of investment banks in the deal, KKR’s capital market arm is underwriting a large chuck of the financing for the potential buyer, one of the sources added.
The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Sedgwick and Carlyle declined to comment, while KKR, Hellman & Friedman, Stone Point and CDPQ did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Founded in 1969, Memphis-based Sedgwick has traditionally focused on claims management, but has been expanding into other areas of risk and benefits solutions in recent years. It now processes claims for a wide range of insurance product lines, including workers’ compensation, general liability and disability.
Since KKR took over Sedgwick in 2014 in a $2.4 billion deal, Sedgwick has been expanding its operations beyond North America. Its acquisition of loss adjuster Cunningham Lindsey earlier this year expanded its footprint into more than 60 countries.
Carlyle has carried out several investments in the insurance sector, most recently agreeing in August to buy nearly 20 percent of reinsurance business DSA Re from American International Group Inc <AIG.N>.
(Reporting by David French and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)