(Bloomberg) -- Bankers and private credit funds are working on a financing deal of around €1 billion ($1.05 billion) to back a potential buyout of French insurance broker Kereis as the sale process kicks off, according to people familiar with the matter.
A debt package of that size would equate to around five times Kereis’ approximate €180 million earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Insurance brokers have been a lucrative target for PE firms because of their recurring revenue streams, and due to the fragmentation of the industry.
The firm’s private equity owner, Bridgepoint Group Plc, has put the insurer, formerly known as CEP, up for sale with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Rothschild & Co. advising. First round bids are due shortly, with the company valued at around €2 billion, the people said, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
The sale could attract interest from both private equity firms and corporate buyers, including PAI Partners, Warburg Pincus and Aon PLC, one of the people said. Insurance brokers have proven a lucrative target for PE firms because of their recurring revenue streams, and the fragmentation of the industry.
Bridgepoint, JPM, Rothschild, Warburg Pincus and PAI declined to comment. AON didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The deal is the latest M&A process to emerge as the junk debt market starts to gain traction once again.
Deal-making conditions are at their most favorable since before Russia’s invasions of Ukraine, as valuation estimates between buyers and sellers start to converge after several quarters of lower earnings.
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Meanwhile, financing markets are also becoming more supportive, as optimism over a potential soft-landing for the US economy, and signs that the rate-hiking cycle may have peaked, stimulates investor’s appetite for risk. Private equity firms are also under pressure from their investors to return money.
Last December, KKR & Co agreed to buy French insurance broker April and fund on its own the whole of the €2.3 billion purchase price, before agreeing to put in debt at a later stage.
In other sales in the sector, Hg is weighing options for GGW Group, including a sale that could value the German insurance broker at about €1.5 billion.
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