Valuation and M&A advisor Duff & Phelps seeks sale: Reuters

(Reuters) — Duff & Phelps Corp, a privately-held firm that provides valuation and M&A advisory services to companies globally, is exploring a sale that could value it as much as $1.3 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The move underscores how the recent M&A boom has boosted the valuation of financial services providers, prompting Duff & Phelps’ owners, which include private equity firms Carlyle Group LP (CG.O) and Stone Point Capital LLC, to consider cashing out.

Duff & Phelps has discreetly reached out in recent weeks to a small number of potential buyers, including buyout firms, to solicit interest, the people said.

Duff & Phelps currently has annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of around $145 million, the people added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Duff & Phelps declined to comment, while Carlyle and Stone Point representatives had no immediate comment.

Created in 1932, New York-based Duff & Phelps is a corporate finance advisor focusing on valuation, dispute and legal management consulting, M&A, restructuring, and compliance and regulatory consulting. It has more than 2,000 employees around the world.

Carlyle, Stone Point, Pictet & Cie and Edmond de Rothschild Group took Duff & Phelps private in 2013 for $665.5 million. Since then, Duff & Phelps has acquired several smaller firms, including American Appraisal Associates Inc, a valuation and fixed asset management advisor, and Kinetic Partners, a regulatory consulting and compliance firm.

Among its recent deals, Duff & Phelps advised U.S. equestrian products retailer Dover Saddlery Inc (DOVR.O) in its agreement to be acquired by Webster Capital for $45 million, and UK Group of Hotels Plc on its financial restructuring.

Global M&A volumes have reached $1.95 trillion so far this year, the highest since the corresponding period in 2007 and up 31 percent year-on-year, according to Thomson Reuters data.