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AssuredPartners sold back to original owner

Posted On: Feb. 21, 2019 6:56 AM CST

Jim Henderson

Rapidly growing brokerage AssuredPartners Inc. is being sold to its original private equity backer, Chicago-based GTCR LLC, by its owner for the past three-and-half years, Apax Partners LLP.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter, were not disclosed, but sources said the purchase price was around $5.1 billion. Apax will retain a minority investment in AssuredPartners along with the brokerage’s management team, the private equity firms said in a joint statement Thursday.

Lake Mary, Florida-based AssuredPartners is the 12th-largest brokerage of U.S. business, according to Business Insurance’s latest ranking, with about $1 billion in brokerage revenue. About 46% of its business is retail property/casualty brokerage, about 20% is employee benefits, and another 20% is derived from services. It significantly expanded the services portion of its revenue with the 2017 purchase of brokerage and third-party administrator Keenan & Associates.

AssuredPartners was founded in 2011 by former Brown & Brown Inc. executives Jim Henderson and Tom Riley with backing from GTCR. The brokerage made 112 acquisitions and grew its revenue to more than $500 million by 2015, when it was acquired by Apax, according to the statement.

Under Apax, the brokerage has made a further 124 acquisitions, the statement said.

Last year, it was the third-most active acquirer of U.S. agencies and brokerages with 37 deals, according to a recent report by Optis Partners LLC.

“Apax has been a superb partner for Assured over the last three years, and we are delighted to be renewing this successful partnership. At the same time, we are excited to welcome back the GTCR team, who we know very well, and value their expertise and insight. We look forward to working with both firms who share our vision and commitment to scaling the business further,” Mr. Henderson said in a statement.

AssuredPartners has “a phenomenal process of execution and integration of acquisitions,” Aaron Cohen, a managing director at GTCR, said in an interview Thursday.

Over the past several years, AssuredPartners has evolved from targeting general agencies and brokerages to specialty firms, such as brokerages focusing on public entity, commercial transportation, aviation and senior living business, and it will continue to target specialty M&A deals, he said.

“Private equity loves this sector because of the great financial profile, recurring revenue, strong cash flow and diversified customer base,” Mr. Cohen said, adding that when GTCR’s investment in AssuredPartners matures, it will most likely sell on to another private equity investor or take the brokerage public.