The owner of Sabre Insurance, the firm behind Insure2drive and Go Girl, is plotting a £600m market float.
The motor insurer, backed by buyout specialist BC Partners, has kicked off a twin-track process that also includes exploring a private sale.
The move was prompted by two private notices of interest, City sources said.
BC Partners bought Sabre for £240m in 2013. The private equity house owns 72 per cent of the business, with founder Angus Ball holding a 19 per cent shareholding.
News the Dorking-based firm is up for sale comes after motor giant LV said last week it was talking to a number of parties over a sale of a minority stake in its general insurance business.
“It’s a great time if Sabre is thinking of coming to market,” said Panmure Gordon head of research Barrie Cornes. He added:
It is getting towards the top end of the market for UK motor but probably isn’t there yet. So it is a question of timing and not getting caught when the competition floods back onto the market and rates start nose-diving.
Private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which owns fashion retailer Reiss and used to have a 50 per cent of Santander Asset Management, is understood to be frontrunner among the private equity buyers.
BC Partners currently owns the Cote restaurant chain. It has previously held interests in estate agent Foxtons and now defunct mobile phone shop Phones4u.