(Reuters) - BDP International Inc, one of the world's biggest logistics companies, is in talks with private equity firms to sell itself, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, but the company said it was only looking to raise capital.
BDP, which provides air and ocean freight forwarding and customs brokerage services, is being advised by boutique investment firm Republic Partners, the sources said.
BDP spokesman Arnie Bornstein denied the company was for sale but said it was exploring opportunities with private investors to raise capital.
BDP will continue to be owned and operated by the founding family and incumbent management team, he said in an email.
Asked about the denial, one of the sources stood by his comment that BDP was for sale.
Philadelphia-based BDP, started in 1966 by Richard Bolte and owned by the founding family, could fetch around $500 million, another source said.
The sources did not want to be named as the sale process was private.
The company had revenue of $1.6 billion in 2011, according to industry journal Transport Topics.
Deal activity in the transportation and logistics industry has been gaining momentum.
Last month, United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) said it would buy Dutch peer TNT Express TNTE.AS for 5.2 billion euros ($6.82 billion) to boost its position as the world's largest package delivery company outside the United States.
It has more than 3,000 employees and a presence in 118 countries, according to its website.
Shares of UTi Worldwide Inc (UTIW.O), one of BDP's main publicly listed competitors, are trading at 24 times reported fiscal 2012 earnings. UTi reported earnings of $79.0 million on revenue of $4.91 billion in fiscal 2012.
Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane, Unnikrishnan Nair