Ardonagh Group to buy bike broker Carole Nash and SME broker Mastercover

UK broking powerhouse Ardonagh Group has exchanged contracts to buy bike broker Carole Nash and SME broker Mastercover Insurance Services.

Both target brokers are currently owned by French insurance group Groupama through its UK subsidiary GUK Broking Services.

Carole Nash will join motor broker Autonet, while Mastercover will join Towergate Insurance Broking. Both Autonet and Towergate sit within Ardonagh’s distribution segment.

Ardonagh did not reveal the purchase price, but the Insurance Insider reported that the group will pay just over £60m for Carole Nash, while the Telegraph said Ardonagh will pay between £62m and £65m for Carole Nash.

Carole Nash employs 430 people – 400 in its Altrincham headquarters and 30 in Dublin – and had revenue of approaching £29m in 2016.

Mastercover, the smaller of the two acquisitions, generated revenue of more than £1.5m in 2016.

Ardonagh says that, including Carole Nash and Mastercover, its pro-forma adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation over the last 12 months, measured at the half-year 2017 stage, would have been £147.4m instead of the £137m it reported.

Ardonagh Group chief executive David Ross said: “Carole Nash is a pre-eminent brand and market leader, a hugely successful business and therefore an ideal addition to the group as part of our carefully targeted acquisition strategy.

“We have admired the business for a long time and are really happy to be welcoming them into the fold as another important addition to The Ardonagh Group family.”

Carole Nash chief executive David Newman said: “We have longstanding relationships with the Ardonagh management team and we are genuinely excited by the momentum that is so clear to see across the group.

“Their understanding of the company we have built, the strong relationships we enjoy with our insurance partners and of our loyal client base give us the springboard we need to keep getting better and better.”

Autonet chief executive Ian Donaldson added: “Carole Nash is a fantastic business and we fully intend to embrace the pioneering work they have done in the motorcycle market. The ethics which underpin the business, backed by their specialist knowledge and genuine passion, make this first acquisition led by Autonet within the Ardonagh family really special.”

Ardonagh also announced that it is buying back £55m-worth of its sterling denominated bonds. It intends to fund the purchase with a combination of debt and existing liquidity.