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Preqin, a British provider of data on private markets, is exploring a sale that could value the company at more than £1bn, according to people familiar with the matter.

Goldman Sachs was advising the business, which it was marketing to interested parties, the people added. Preqin was predominantly interested in doing a deal with a larger rival or so-called strategic buyer and wanted to avoid being sold to a private equity group, they added.

Among the parties which have been looking at buying Preqin were US financial data giant S&P Global and US asset management group BlackRock, some of the people said. Other data companies could jump into the mix of a sale process that is still in the early phase.

Preqin, Goldman and BlackRock declined to comment. S&P Global said it did not comment on market speculation.

A sale would mark the latest in a series of deals for companies that provide specialised financial information to clients including banks, asset managers and investment groups.

Companies that provide data on opaque but influential corners of the financial services industry have traded at a premium in recent years, seizing on demand among investors for information.

Private equity firms, asset managers and large corporations such as S&P Global have all been active acquirers of these types of businesses, striking large deals for niche data providers and making big profits.

Other data providers to change hands in recent years include distressed debt information business Reorg, which reports on debt financing transactions. S&P Global acquired IHS Markit in 2020 for $44bn.

Founded more than 20 years ago by UK entrepreneur Mark O’Hare, Preqin was set up to provide data on the private capital industry including tracking the performance of private equity and hedge funds.

The company has been a beneficiary of a two-decade-long boom in private markets during which the industry has grown to more than $14tn in assets.

Preqin claims to have the “biggest and most robust data set on private capital performance on the planet” with 48,000 customers and a research team of 500 staff, according to its website.

The company has grown organically and through acquisitions including the purchase of portfolio monitoring company Colmore in 2021. It has offices in more than a dozen cities including London, New York, Dubai and Beijing, according to its website.

Preqin recorded revenues of £134mn in 2022, according to Companies House filings, up from £92mn the year before.

The business is chaired by Sir Bradley Fried, who is also chair of Goldman Sachs International, Preqin’s bank.

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