Exclsuive: Bain plans IPO for Bright Horizons - sources

Private equity firm Bain Capital LLC is planning an initial public offering for Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a child care and early education provider it took private for $1.3 billion in 2008, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Bain, co-founded by U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has selected underwriters to handle a proposed stock offering of Bright Horizons that could come later this year, the people said on Tuesday.

Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase are among the underwriters of the IPO, one of the people said. They asked not to be named because the matter is not public.

Bain, Bright Horizons and Goldman Sachs were not immediately available for comment. JPMorgan declined to comment.

Founded in 1986, Bright Horizons provides employer-sponsored child care and early education programs, and manages child care centers for companies, hospitals, universities and government agencies.

The Watertown, Massachusetts-based company, which has operations in North America, Europe and India, also offers college counseling and other services for working families.

In 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama praised Bright Horizons and its role in society, saying in a joint statement with the company that "child care facilities and home-based providers can be a real building block for an entire generation of healthy kids."

The private equity industry's investment practices have come under intense scrutiny during the U.S. presidential elections.

Romney's background as Bain co-founder has already put an uncomfortable spotlight on the buyout firm. President Barack Obama's campaign released a video in May that called Bain a job-killing "vampire" that ran a steel mill into the ground.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran, Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis in New York)