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Animal tagging group Datamars put up for sale by private equity owner-sources

FRANKFURT, Sept 19 Buyout group Columna Capital is preparing its Swiss animal tagging group Datamars for a sale in a potential deal that could be worth as much as over 300 million Swiss francs ($306 million), two people close to the deal said.

The private equity investor has asked investment advisory boutique Evercore to organise an auction for the company, which is expected to start by mid-November when first information packages to likely bidders will be sent out, the people added.

Aiming to benefit from high valuations for technology companies, Columna is expected to shop the asset to BC Partners - which owns Datamars rival Allflex - as well as other investors such as Advent, KKR, CVC, Cinven, HgCapital and Montagu.

Columna Capital was not immediately available, while Evercore declined to comment.

Datamars makes tags containing electronically stored information, so-called radio-frequency identification (RFID) microchips, which can be used to automatically identify animals and goods. It also makes the microchip scanners that farmers, veterinarians and animal control officers use to monitor livestock or pets.

The company has revenue of about $100 million, according Columna's website.

According to people close to the situation, Datamars' annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation stand at 20-30 million francs and potential bidders may value the company at up to 15 times that.

Datamars, in which Columna bought a minority interest in 2011 before taking complete control in 2014, employs more than 800 people worldwide. ($1 = 0.9796 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Victoria Bryan)

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