BC Partners' bid for Kroll rejected

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Marsh & McLennan has rejected approaches for its financial detective agency Kroll, but is understood not to have ruled out a sale, as its chief executive reviews the business.

A source close to Marsh said it had received "informal inquiries" over Kroll in the past month, including a letter expressing interest from the private equity group BC Partners, before adding: "Marsh made it clear very quickly that it is not interested in selling Kroll at the moment. It gave a very perfunctory 'thanks but no thanks'."

BC Partners approached the corporate security firm after the appointment of David Buchler, Kroll's former chairman in Europe.

Kroll's future in the group has been under the spotlight since Brian Duperreault was named as Marsh's chief executive in January. He told investors that the business was under review over how well it fits into the group's structure. Mr Duperreault replaced Michael Cherkasky, a former Kroll executive, who had been ousted from the group in December.

Mr Duperreault has already instigated change at Kroll, including the move to split its corporate advisory operation into a standalone business.

He is continuing to evaluate Kroll and is understood to want to hold off on a decision to sell until the review is complete.

"That's not to say Marsh won't sell in however many months time. Everything is still being assessed," the source said.

The security group was set up by Jules Kroll in New York in 1972. It has a turnover of £1bn, with 4,200 employees in 33 countries, and carries out work including forensic accounting, M&A due diligence and IT security. Marsh bought the business for $1.9bn in 2004.