(Reuters) — Clover Technologies Group, the world’s largest collector and recycler of cellphones and empty printer cartridges, is exploring a sale that could value it at roughly $1.5 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
The sale process comes as Clover has been seeking to expand its handset business, betting that more consumers will trade in old phones when they upgrade to the latest model.
Golden Gate Capital, the private equity firm that controls Clover, has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to help run an auction for the company, the people said this week, cautioning that no deal was certain.
The sources asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential. Clover, Morgan Stanley and Golden Gate Capital declined to comment.
Founded in 1996, Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Clover collects and resells products including cartridges, printer parts and mobile phones. It has 60 manufacturing, collection and sales locations across 19 countries.
Golden Gate acquired Clover and in 2010 acquired another imaging supplies company, West Point Products, which was then folded under Clover’s name.
The combined company has acquired a series of domestic and global companies since then, helping to expand Clover’s presence and offerings. Among its deals, Clover bought Saaker Printing Design and Engineering in India, LaserCare in Singapore and telecommunications company American Communications.
Clover launched its wireless repair platform, Clover Wireless, in 2012 and its telecom hardware and engineering business, Clover Telecom, in 2014. Last year it formed Clover Imaging Group, which houses all of its imaging businesses.
Companies in the broader printing industry have struggled, as corporate clients slash costs and consumers shift to mobile devices from personal computers.
In April, printer maker Lexmark International Inc announced it had agreed to be acquired by a consortium led by China-based Apex Technology Co Ltd and PAG Asia Capital in a deal valued at $3.6 billion net of cash.