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Goldman Sachs to sell part of Benefitfocus stake

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Goldman Sachs & Company may sell up to $100 million of the stock it now owns in Benefitfocus Inc. (Nasdaq:BNFT). Benefitfocus went public in September 2013.

Goldman Sachs has been investing in the company since 2007 and now owns about $500 million in Benefitfocus shares, or about 45 percent of the value of the company. Benefitfocus sells software and web-based services that employers or insurers can use to enroll consumers in coverage through the Internet and to administer the products sold.

A comparison of a Goldman Sachs offering filing and earlier company filings show that the company has been growing. The company now has relationships with 43 carriers and 418 large employers, up from 40 carriers and 393 large employers at the end of 2013.

The company says one of the risks it faces is the fact that it is still controlled by Goldman Sachs. The federal government classifies Goldman Sachs as a bank holding company, and Benefitfocus as a bank holding company subsidiary. Benefitfocus is subject to supervision by the Federal Reserve.

“The Federal Reserve could exercise its power to restrict us from engaging in any activity that, in the Federal Reserve’s opinion, is unauthorized or constitutes an unsafe or unsound business practice,” the company says. “To the extent that these regulations impose limitations on our business, we could be at a competitive disadvantage because some of our competitors are not subject to these limitations.”

Even after Goldman Sachs sells the Benfitfocus stock described in the filing, regulators would still think of Benefitfocus as a company controlled by a bank holding company, Benefitfocus says.

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