Exclusive: Hellman & Friedman seeks Catalina Marketing sale, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Hellman & Friedman LLC is exploring a sale of Catalina Marketing Corp, which claims to have the world’s largest shopper history database and could fetch as much as $2.5 billion, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Hellman & Friedman has approached a small number of other private equity firms to solicit offers for Catalina, which has annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of around $200 million, and could be valued at between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, three of the people said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is advising Hellman & Friedman on the sale process, two of the people added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Hellman & Friedman and Bank of America Merrill Lynch declined to comment while Catalina representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Catalina says it influences the decisions of more than 75 percent of American shoppers through marketing services that include coupons at retail checkout counters, promotions delivered to consumers’ smartphones and websites.

The Saint Petersburg, Florida-based company works with more than 25,000 grocery, drug and department stores across the United States, including Safeway Inc (SWY.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Sears Holdings Corp’s (SHLD.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Kmart discount chain, according to its website.

Earlier this week, another private equity firm, ABRY Partners, agreed to buy coupon processing company Inmar Inc from New Mountain Capital LLC, looking to also tap into the consumer promotions market. Sources close to that deal had pegged its value at more than $600 million.

Catalina had revenue for the 12 months to the end of June of $661 million, according to Moody’s Investors Service Inc. Hellman & Friedman took Catalina private in 2007 in a $1.7 billion deal.

The San Francisco-based private equity firm has been seeking to sell at least two more of its portfolio companies to take advantage of red-hot capital markets that favor buyout firms which seek to cash out on their investments.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters last month that Hellman & Friedman has been separately exploring the sale of its human resources management software firm Kronos Inc and its claims services company Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc.