Broker linked with rival Gallagher.
Heath Lambert chief executive Adrian Colosso has admitted for the first time that the company may be sold.
This follows the appointment of corporate financial adviser Hawkpoint to explore a range of long-term financing options for the broker.
Confirming that a sale “could be an option”, Colosso said that potential outcomes also included refinancing with existing investors or a flotation.
In recent months Heath Lambert has been linked with a number of potential buyers including American broker giant Gallagher, whose chief executive has declared he is pursuing a range of acquisition options in the UK – including a larger broker.
Colosso insisted that, as yet, no formal approaches to the company had been made. “No offers are on the table,” a spokesman added.
A senior market source said: “Heath Lambert is at its peak. For the directors to get a true valuation on the business now is the time to sell.”
“There was significant interest from a number of private equity houses in 2005 when they refinanced – and that was before they started delivering strong profit growth,” another source added.
“They [may be] looking to take advantage of [the recent] slump, thinking about floating when the market is on the up.”
Heath Lambert revealed last week it had increased pre-tax profits year on year by 19% to £10.2m, including a 25% boost from its consulting business. The group’s personal lines division, HLIS, reported a 4% increase in brokerage over the first six months of 2007.
Following the restructuring of its retail partnerships division in June, Colosso said that the company would further grow its retail broking arm, which currently accounts for around 15% of total business.
He would not rule out making an acquisition. “Organic growth alone is a challenge for all organisations our size, especially given the current market conditions,” he said.