The private equity backers of PA Consulting Group, one of the world’s oldest management consultancies, are lining up bankers to oversee a prospective sale.
Daily Week News has learnt that Carlyle, the buyout firm which took a majority stake in PA Consulting in 2015, is interviewing investment banks about a strategic review that will take place in the coming months.
Sources said on Monday that they anticipated that the chosen banks would oversee an auction of PA Consulting, although the timing of a formal process has not yet been set.
Advisers could be formally appointed as soon as next month, they added.
A sale would cap a successful period for Carlyle as an investor in the consulting firm, which employs more than 2800 specialists globally across industries such as defence and security, life sciences and financial services.
PA Consulting does not routinely disclose its client relationships but has publicly spoken about its work on Virgin Hyperloop One, the magnetic levitation transport system being developed with the sponsorship of Sir Richard Branson.
Sources said that Carlyle could opt to pursue a refinancing of the business instead, which would push back a sale to a later date.
A proposed refinancing of the consultancy firm, which would have delivered windfalls to more than 1,000 employee shareholders and to Carlyle, was eventually postponed.
Carlyle owns 51% of the firm, with the remainder of the shares held by employees.
Since the 2015 buyout, PA Consulting is understood to have grown revenue and profits by substantial amounts, aided by its continued international expansion.
The original deal was reported to have valued the firm at over $1bn (£800m), and although the current valuation was unclear on Monday, one insider said they expected any sale would crystallise an attractive return for Carlyle.
PA Consulting has completed a number of acquisitions since Carlyle became a shareholder, including Nyras, an international aviation consultancy.
Last year it also bought Sparkler, a digital insight and strategy consultancy which works with clients such as Diageo, eBay and J Sainsbury.
PA Consulting’s balance sheet has been tidied up through an £850m deal with Pension Insurance Corporation to offload its pension liabilities.
Last year, the company appointed John Alexander, a former boss of the environmental consultancy ERM, as its chairman.
Mr Alexander replaced Marcus Agius, the former Barclays chairman.
PA Consulting is one of the most prominent names in the consulting sector, alongside peers such as Bain, McKinsey and Booz Allen Hamilton.
It was founded in 1943, making it one of the world’s oldest international consulting firms.
Carlyle declined to comment.