- REUTERS/Mike Segar
Private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman is in talks to buy health-insurance agency MultiPlan from Starr Investment Holdings for$7.5 billion, according to Liz Hoffman and Dana Cimilluca at The Wall Street Journal.
The deal would mark a fast and profitable exit for Starr, which bought MultiPlan for $4.4 billion in 2014.
Starr and a coinvestor put up about $1.4 billion for the original deal, according to the WSJ, and borrowed the rest of the purchase price. That means the sale would likely net a huge profit.
Starr is run by Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, who set the firm up after exiting AIG, where he was CEO, in 2005.
Starr was AIG’s biggest shareholder when the insurance giant was bailed out during the financial crisis. Greenbergfamously took the government to court for the bailout, seeking up to $50 billion in damages.
The US Court of Federal Claims ruled that the terms of the government’s bailout were illegal, but did not award any damages. That decision is being appealed.
The MultiPlan deal, which could still fall apart, according the WSJ, wouldbreak the silence in the private-equity space, where firms are sitting on mountains of cashbut having a hard time finding bargains.
Private-equity firms paid out $2 billion in fees to the investment banks advising them on deals in the first quarter, down 38% from 2015, and the lowest since the first three months of 2010.
“Low interest rates create higher prices and higher prices are the enemy of wonderful returns,” Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman told CNBC on Tuesday. “So it makes it more difficult to set deals up. So you have to be very careful, do something clever, and make enormous amount of value that historically investors are used to.”
For the full story, head over to The Wall Street Journal.