Providence Equity Among Kroll Bidders

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Providence Equity Partners is among the bidders for corporate investigations firm Kroll, along with BC Partners Ltd and Apax, as private equity deals heat up again, sources familiar with the matter said.

Kroll, put up for sale by the No. 2 global insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc (MMC.N), attracted interest from a number of private equity firms, but the auction is now zeroing in on a few bidders, sources said. The next round of bids is due later in April, two of those sources said.

Providence would bid through its portfolio company Altegrity, one of the sources said. Altegrity, a Virginia-based security solutions firm, is run by Michael Cherkasky, who is very familiar with Kroll. He was formerly Marsh & McLennan’s chief executive officer and, prior to that, president and CEO of Kroll.

U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] did consider a bid but is no longer in the process, sources added.

The sale process has moved slowly, with one source saying the information being provided is not as detailed as buyers would like.

After 18 months fixing struggling portfolio companies, buyout firms are eager to do new deals, buoyed by improving economic conditions and better availability of debt for deals.

Marsh & McLennan is the second-largest global insurance broker by assets and also owns consulting businesses Oliver Wyman Group and Mercer. The Financial Times reported in March that it was seeking $1.3 billion for Kroll.

Marsh, BC, Carlyle and Apax declined comment, Providence was not immediately available for comment.

By Megan Davies and Simon Meads
(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)