Evercore Partners Inc., the boutique investment bank founded by Roger Altman, is exploring a sale of insurance broker Bollinger Inc. that may fetch as much as $400 million, said people with knowledge of the matter.
The firm began working last year with Bank of America Corp. to find bids for Short Hills, New Jersey-based Bollinger, said the people, who asked to not be named because the process is private. AssuredPartners Inc., owned by Chicago buyout firm GTCR LLC, is one of the top suitors, two of the people said.
Bollinger offers insurance to colleges, amateur sports leagues and country clubs. Last year was the busiest for takeovers of U.S. insurance brokers since 2007, with the bulk undertaken by private-equity firms, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Onex Corp. and KKR & Co. were among the private- equity firms that bought insurance brokers in 2012, attracted by the industry’s reliable cash flows and minimal use of capital.
Spokesmen at Evercore and Bank of America declined to comment, while representatives at GTCR and Bollinger didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
AssuredPartners, based in Lake Mary, Florida, is the 15th- largest U.S. broker by annual revenue, while Bollinger is the 22nd, according to the latest industry survey from Business Insurance, a trade magazine. Together the firms had about $300 million in 2011 revenue, the data from Business Insurance shows.
Bollinger has made more than a dozen acquisitions since selling a majority stake to Evercore in 2008, according to the company’s website. AssuredPartners states on its website that it has made more than two dozen acquisitions.