Sources: Troubled insurer, The Phoenix Cos., explores sales

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The financially troubled Phoenix Cos. has hired investment banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Sandler O’Neill and Partners to explore a sale, according to people familiar with the matter as reported by the Hartford Courant.

The Hartford, Conn.-based life insurer began exploring a sale earlier this month, contacting potential buyers, the sources said.

Shares of the insurance holding company, which had a market capitalization of about $271 million, soared more than 14 percent on the news.

Representatives from Phoenix, Goldman Sachs and Sandler O’Neill declined to comment to the Hartford Courant.

The company has struggled since the recession from a series of setbacks, including the 2009 loss of its distribution through State Farm and National Life Group, ratings downgrades and the discovery in fall 2012 that it had to restate several years of financial performance to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Read the full story at the Hartford Courant: Sources: Historic Hartford Insurer, The Phoenix Cos., Explores Sale – Courant.com.

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