3i Said to Weigh $450 Million Sale or IPO of Inspecta

3i Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest publicly traded private-equity firm, is considering a sale or initial public offering of Inspecta, a Finnish inspection and testing business, said two people with knowledge of the talks.

3i has held preliminary talks with investment banks about options for Inspecta, although no adviser has been hired, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. A sale could value the company at as much as 330 million euros ($450 million), one of the people said.

3i Chief Executive Officer Simon Borrows is seeking to tap what he called in May “an excess of capital” that is looking for acquisitions and driving up prices. The London-based firm sold its stake in architectural firm Foster + Partners last month. It’s also preparing a 1 billion-euro sale or IPO of Finnish telecommunications business Eltel Networks, two people with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.

Inspecta, in which 3i bought in June 2007 in a deal valued at 243 million euros, offers a range of inspection, testing, certification, technical consultancy and training services to the energy, engineering and real-estate industries, according to 3i’s website.

Representatives at 3i declined to comment and a spokesman for Inspecta didn’t immediately respond to e-mail requests seeking comment.

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