NEW YORK (Reuters) - EP Energy LLC, the oil and gas company bought just last year by a private equity consortium led by Apollo Global Management LLC for $7.15 billion, is working with investment banks to prepare for an initial public offering as soon as this year, three people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The company has not yet formally mandated underwriters to lead the proposed offering, but has asked several investment banks to draw up plans for a possible IPO, the people said.

An initial filing with U.S. regulators may come within the next few months and could value the company at more than $8 billion, one of the people said.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is not yet public. They cautioned that Apollo has not yet made a decision on the timing of the IPO and could postpone any plans if market conditions worsen.

The Apollo-led group, which includes Riverstone Holdings LLC and Access Industries Inc, completed the acquisition of EP Energy - originally El Paso Corp's exploration and production arm - in May 2012.

Apollo and Riverstone declined to comment while EP Energy and Acccess Industries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran, Greg Roumeliotis and Michael Erman Editing by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Gary Hill)

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