Carlyle, Bain, Advent Eye TransUnion

(Reuters) – Private equity firms Carlyle Group, Bain Capital and Advent International are competing to buy credit reporting firm TransUnion, which could fetch more than $2 billion, sources familiar with the matter said.

The auction is advanced, but a sale of the business is not certain as TransUnion’s majority owner Madison Dearborn Partners weighs whether it can get more value in an auction or through an initial public offering later, the sources said.

TransUnion said in July it planned to raise up to $325 million in an initial public offering, but also launched a sale process as the IPO market was effectively shut amid geopolitical and economic uncertainty.

The auction has also been hit by problems in the financing markets, which have seen the availability of debt to private equity firms shrink and interest rates rise.

A decision on the business, which competes with firms like Experian and Equifax, could come in the next two weeks, the sources said.

TransUnion is being advised by Deutsche Bank and Bank of America on the sale, sources said previously.

Madison Dearborn, Carlyle, Bain and Advent declined to comment.

Madison Dearborn bought a 51 percent stake in the business last year from Chicago’s Pritzker family, one of the wealthiest families in the United States.

It would be the latest asset sale by the Pritzkers following a 2001 settlement agreement, under which 11 heirs set a plan to break up the family fortune.

In 2006, the family sold smokeless tobacco company Conwood to Reynolds American for $3.5 billion.

That was followed in 2007 by the sale of 60 percent of manufacturing and services group Marmon Holdings Inc to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc for $4.5 billion.

Late in 2009, the family took Hyatt Hotels Corp public.

Earlier this year, the Pritzkers sold a controlling interest in Triton Container International Ltd to Warburg Pincus WP.UL and Vestar Capital Partners for about $1 billion.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Paritosh Bansal. Editing by Robert MacMillan)