A report from Bloomberg news says life science services firm Quintiles – the world’s largest and based in the Triangle – is interviewing banks about handling a public offering of stock.

The company was taken private by co-founder and top executive Dennis Gillings in 2008. Gillings, then the chairman and chief executive officer, cited being free from the scrutiny given public companies, was one of the major reasons for the decision.

Now, Gillings has moved into a far less active role with Tom Pike taking over as CEO last year.

And since then, talk has circulated that Quintiles might go public again.

In recent months, the company set out to refinance its debt and also to raise money to pay its private investors a dividend.

Now comes talk from Bloomberg that TPG Capital and Bain Capital are interviewing banks to handle a Quintiles IPO. The news service cited three unnamed sources as providing information for the story.

No Comment from Quintiles

“Quintiles routinely evaluates its capital strategy, and it is our policy not to comment on these matters,” Phil Bridges, a spokesman for Quintiles, said in a statement emailed to WRAL News.

Representatives for TPG and Boston-based Bain declined to comment to Bloomberg.

The company is aiming to go public later this year, according to one of the people.

In September, people familiar with the matter said the company may file for the IPO in the next 18 months.

Quintiles’s owners are going ahead with IPO plans as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index trades at its highest level in five years. So far this year, private-equity-backed companies have performed beyond expectations. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., owned by Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG, priced its offering above the proposed range last week, and Bain-owned Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc. did the same in its IPO, priced last night.

A group of private-equity firms including Fort Worth, Texas-based TPG and Bain bought Quintiles in 2008 in a deal that valued the company at about $3.8 billion, a person familiar with the matter said last year.

Quintiles Growth

Quintiles is among the contract-research organizations whose revenue growth has picked up as drugmakers outsource trials and testing, Moody’s Investors Service said in a Sept. 12 research note. The company hired new Chief Executive Officer Tom Pike in April and has bought up smaller competitors.

Two of Quintiles’s biggest competitors by sales are inVentiv Health Inc. and Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc., according to Moody’s, and both are closely held by private- equity firms. Blackstone Group LP acquired Catalent from Cardinal Health Inc. in 2007 for $3.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Thomas H. Lee Partners LP bought inVentiv in 2010 for $1.09 billion.

[QUINTILES ARCHIVE: Check out 11 years of Quintiles stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]