3i in talks with potential buyer of holding in insurer Hyperion

David Hellier
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PRIVATE equity group 3i is in talks with an unnamed buyer about potentially selling its sizeable shareholding in private insurer Hyperion, sources have told City A.M.

3i has a stake of around 23 per cent in the group, with BP Marsh (13.5 per cent) and Murofo Investments (14.46 per cent stake), the other major institutional shareholders in the company.

“There’s been a good offer for a stake in a good company,” said one source.

Hyperion said last week that a much talked about IPO plan remained very much on the agenda. But others have speculated that an IPO is being put back until next year following the recent acquisition of Windsor.

Market sources suggest that 3i, which is in the middle of a strategy of divesting some of its non-core assets, might be keen to sell out now rather than wait for the company to float if this means waiting until 2014.

3i declined to comment.

Industry sources suggest the group, which has 60 per cent of its shares owned by an employee trust, is worth anything between £150m-200m.

In the year to September 2012 the group, which includes the broker Howden, had revenues of £111m with Ebitda of £20.6m.

Ex-Conservative cabinet minister Lord Forsyth is on the board of the group, whose chief executive David Howden recently spoke about wanting to be an industry consolidator.