By Nadia Damouni
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Guidewire Software Inc, which sells software to the insurance industry, is gearing up to go public and has selected JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N> and Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> to underwrite the deal, people close to the matter said.
The Silicon Valley-based company is regarded to be the leading software maker for the $1.7 trillion property and casualty insurance industry, and its initial public offering has been expected for the past two years.
JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank are the lead bookrunners, with Citigroup Inc <C.N> among other underwriters, the sources said. Although a specific timeline is uncertain, Guidewire could file with regulators later this year.
Guidewire did not return calls for comment. Spokespeople for the banks declined to comment.
Guidewire's Java-based, online software addresses the full insurance process, from developing and writing policies, to administering claims on those policies, and billing customers for their premiums.
Its claims-management software is the most popular portion of its suite, based on customer lists on the company's website.
While most of these customers are small by the standards of property and casualty insurance, Guidewire's 96 clients include major corporate names such as CNA Financial <CNA.N> and Berkshire Hathaway's <BRKa.N> auto insurer GEICO, as well as government bodies like the Earthquake Commission of New Zealand and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
The company has not disclosed its revenues, nor the investment amounts made by its venture capital backers Bay Partners, U.S. Venture Partners and Battery Ventures L.P.
Guidewire is among a slew of small but profitable software companies like ServiceNow and Palo Alto Networks that could fetch multiples of five to 10 times revenue when they go public, according to one of the people close to the matter.
That contrasts with the hyper growth potential of social media companies like Groupon, Zynga and Facebook, which could generate multiple in the 20 times revenue range.
"It is a sizable software company, and the lead in that space. It will do well," said the source.
Guidewire was founded in 2001 in San Mateo, California, and has opened offices in London, Munich, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong and the United States.
(Additional reporting by Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Derek Caney)