* Jefferies, Moelis hired to run auction -sources
* Heartland seen worth between $1.2 bln and $1.4 bln -sources
* Auction in second round, private equity interested -sources
By Soyoung Kim
NEW YORK, Sept 5 Heartland Dental Care Inc, one of the largest dental practice management companies in the United States, is exploring a sale that could fetch as much as $1.4 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The company, in which Chicago-based private equity firm CHS Capital Partners has a stake, has hired investment banks Jefferies and Moelis to find a buyer and has drawn interest mostly from other buyout firms, the people said.
The sources asked not to be identified because the process is not public.
Heartland Dental has about $120 million in annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) and could be sold for 10 to 12 times EBITDA, they added.
The auction is early in the second round and final bids are expected about a month from now, according to the people. Jefferies has offered to provide financing for potential buyers, they added.
Representatives for Heartland Dental, CHS Capital, Jefferies and Moelis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Effingham, Illinois-based Heartland Dental manages more than 350 affiliated dental practices in 19 U.S. states, providing dentists with administrative services such as personnel staffing, purchasing, and financial, marketing and technology support, according to its website.
The company is owned and operated by founder and Chief Executive Rick Workman, a dentist. CHS Capital made a minority equity investment in 2008 for an undisclosed sum.
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