Onex nears deal for York Risk Services, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp is in advanced discussions to buy insurance claims services provider York Risk Services Group Inc for more than $1.3 billion, people following the situation said on Friday.

ABRY Partners, the private equity firm that owns York, has been working with Morgan Stanley for the last few months to explore the sale of the company.

The deal, which is subject to final negotiations, will likely value York between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion, the people said. An announcement could come as early as next week, one of the people added.

Representatives of York, ABRY, Morgan Stanley and Onex did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

York provides third-party claims management for all lines of insurance including general liability and workers’ compensation. The Parsippany, New Jersey-based company has helped handle claims for all of the major hurricanes to hit the United States in the past 40 years.

Private equity firms have been active acquirers of insurance services providers, attracted by their resilience in financial downturns. KKR & Co LP, for example, acquired Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc for $2.4 billion from private equity peer Hellman & Friedman LLC earlier this year.

Two other private equity firms, Oak Hill Capital Partners and New Mountain Capital LLC, also participated in the final stages in the auction for York, the people said.

A representative for New Mountain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An Oak Hill representative declined to comment.