The two private equity firms are among the final bidders in the auction for DocuSign, which is set to be one of the biggest leveraged buyouts of 2024, the sources said.
While the investment firms have not joined forces, it is possible that they may partner down the line to clinch a deal, the sources added. An outcome is expected in the coming weeks.
Blackstone Inc, another buyout firm, held talks about a potential deal with DocuSign but is no longer in contention, according to two of the sources.
The sources cautioned that no transaction is certain and asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
Representatives for Bain and Hellman & Friedman declined to comment. DocuSign and Blackstone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported in December that DocuSign was exploring a sale, without identifying any suitors.
DocuSign went public in 2018 at a $6 billion valuation. Its technology allows customers to sign documents online from any electronic device. It counts large corporations such as T-Mobile, United Airlines and Thermo Fisher among its clients.
Last month, DocuSign reported quarterly adjusted earnings of 79 cents per share for the quarter that ended in October, higher than the 57 cents it posted a year earlier. Revenue rose 8.5% to $700.4 million from a year ago.
A spike in financing costs in the last two years made financing leveraged buyouts more expensive and big deals hard to clinch. Yet some large transactions are slowly breaking through, as the financing outlook improves.
Blackstone and Permira unveiled a deal in November to buy European online classifieds company Adevinta ASA for about 14 billion euros ($15.36 billion).
In July, buyout firm GTCR agreed to buy a majority stake in Worldpay, the merchant services business of Fidelity National Information Services, in a deal that valued the unit at $18.5 billion.