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Willis buys controlling stake in Swedish employee benefits firm


Willis Group Holdings P.L.C. on Tuesday said it has bought a controlling stake of about 75% in Max Matthiessen A.B., a Swedish employee benefits adviser.

Willis said it would pay $205 million for the stake, subject to regulatory approval.

Stockholm-based Max Matthiessen employs about 420 people across 23 locations in Sweden and reported net income of about $17.4 million for 2013, Willis said in a statement.

Willis’ Swedish operations have operated a strategic partnership with Max Matthiessen since 2009.

Max Matthiessen is an independent adviser on retirement savings, health plans and personal insurance. It currently is 50% employee-owned and 50% owned by the Altor Fund III, a private equity fund that focuses on investing in businesses in the Nordic region.

On completion of the deal, Willis would have about a 75% stake in the company, and its employees the remaining 25%, Willis said in the statement.

“The combined business will benefit both sides and we are looking forward to the ability of offering our customers a broader product portfolio,” Christoffer Folkebo, CEO of Max Matthiessen, said in the statement.

Max Matthiessen will retain its brand and organization, he added.

“This is an important deal that reflects our commitment to employee benefits and our confidence in the Nordic region,” said Tim Wright, CEO of Willis International and leader of its global human capital and benefits practice in London, in the statement.

“Max Matthiessen serves markets where we see solid growth fundamentals underpinned by changing demographics and increasing demand for retirement and health solutions,” he added.