Medline Industries Explores Sale – WSJ

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Medline Industries Inc. is exploring a sale that could value the big medical-supply company at as much as $30 billion and mark the latest in a recent string of large leveraged-buyout bids.

The family-owned company has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to run the process, according to people familiar with the matter. There is no guarantee the company will ultimately be sold. The process is at an early stage, the people said, with some adding that an IPO or minority investment is also a possibility.

Northfield, Ill.-based Medline is likely to attract private-equity bidders, partly because industry players could struggle to swallow such a big rival, the people said.

A number of buyout firms, including Blackstone Group Inc., KKR & Co. and Carlyle Group Inc., are among those expected to consider bids, some of the people said, and they could ultimately partner up given the size of the deal.

The possible deal is the latest sign of a renaissance under way for large leveraged buyouts, which largely disappeared in the wake of the financial crisis as firms eschewed pairing up and taking on the mountains of debt such deals require. With risk tolerance rising broadly and private-equity investors sitting on mountains of unspent cash, the firms have been testing the waters lately on megabuyouts again, including at Royal KPN NV and Toshiba Corp.

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