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The number of broker mergers and acquisitions in the first quarter of 2019 rose by just one, to 151, over the number in first-quarter 2018, Optis Partners LLC said in a report Thursday.
Deal volume for the past 12 months inclusive of first quarter also rose by just one, to 632, a record, over the full-year 2018 total.
Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based Patriot Growth Insurance Services LLC led all buyers with 18 transactions for the quarter, followed by Caledonia, Michigan-based Acrisure LLC with 16, Chicago-based Hub International Ltd. with 12, and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and Columbus, Ohio-based BroadStreet Partners Inc. each with 10.
Acrisure led the list of acquirers with 20 or more deals in the past 12 months with 88, followed by Hub with 58 and Gallagher with 40, the report’s data showed.
The report, however, cautioned against drawing any conclusions about M&A activity.
“Individual quarterly totals can fluctuate dramatically from one period to the next and are not necessarily indicative of the overall M&A activity level,” Optis said.
Private equity-backed, hybrid buyers were responsible for more than 67% of the total transactions in the past 12 months.
The PE, hybrid group has grown from about 20% of the total M&A activity in 2008 to roughly 67% in 2019, the report said.
“It’s not that all the other buyer-types saw reductions in the number of transactions completed, but rather the significant increases by the PE/Hybrid buyers starting in 2012 when all the others remained reasonably stable,” Optis said.
Significant 2019 broker transactions included the acquisition of Bouchard Insurance by Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC in January and the acquisition of U.S. Risk Insurance Group LLC by USI Insurance Services LLC, scheduled to be completed in the second quarter.
Mergers and acquisition value soared even as deal volume was down in the insurance sector in 2018, according to a report Thursday from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.