The auction is being run by investment bank Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) and has attracted several private-equity firms including Permira and Cinven Group, people said.
London-based Exponent bought V Ships for $338 million in March 2007. One person previously told Dow Jones Newswires that the company could fetch as much as $600 million, or 10 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $60 million.
Since its formation in 1984, V Ships has expanded from servicing cargo vessels to providing services for cruise liners, ferries and large yachts.
The company is based in Douglas, Isle of Man, and operates through an extensive network of offices located primarily in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The network encompasses 70 offices and 35 countries with the principal places of business Monaco, Limassol, Singapore, Shanghai, Glasgow and London.
-By Marietta Cauchi, Dow Jones Newswires