AXA UK has agreed to acquire brokers Stuart Alexander...

AXA UK is to acquire brokers Stuart Alexander and Layton Blackham, the insurer announced today.

The insurer will acquire both firms through its subsidiary Venture Preference, which already owned 38.9% of Layton Blackham.

AXA said the two companies will be combined and will have “considerable autonomy” to develop the business and will maintain independent broking status. “Quality accounts with current insurers will be maintained and grown,” it added.

Chris Blackham, chief executive of Layton Blackham, will become chairman and Stuart Reid, chief executive of Stuart Alexander, will become the chief executive of the new company.

Initially it will continue to trade under the existing names but will be rebranded in the future.

Peter Hubbard, chief executive of AXA Insurance, said: “We are extremely pleased to have concluded these transactions and to gain ownership of these two quality broking businesses that operate in the commercial insurance market.

“It is a strategic priority for AXA in the UK to strengthen its distribution platform and gain greater access to its customers and we believe that these acquisitions will provide a solid foundation for further growth.”

Hubbard added: “AXA will run Stuart Alexander and Layton Blackham as an independent broking firm, separate from AXA Insurance. We believe that this acquisition will help strengthen our overall market proposition by extending our offer to the provision of broking services to SMEs and property owners.

“These transactions will enable AXA UK to diversify its source of revenues and, at the same time, benefit from the growth of the brokerage business.”

Chris Blackham, CEO of Layton Blackham, said: “We have had a very close relationship with AXA over the past few years, not least as they held a significant minority interest.

“We see AXA's backing as fundamental to our long term goals to grow the business. AXA's arms length involvement means we keep independence over the placement of business which will be key to attracting other independent regional brokers to join us.”

Stuart Reid, CEO of Stuart Alexander, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for us. Now that we have the strength of AXA behind us we will be better able to expand this new business and bring on new customers as well as improve profitability.”