Failed MBOs at Groupama and Cobra could have dire consequences for a subsequent buyer

The sale of Groupama’s broking businesses is faring rather better than that of its insurance arm. Giles is believed to be running the rule over the operations; and incoming chief executive Brendan McManus will be looking to make a big entrance.

But he will be up against the management teams of both Bollington and Lark, which are trying to pull together MBOs. If they are outbid by a hungry consolidator, the consequences for the companies could be dire. There’s a similar chain of events under way at Cobra, where Towergate is up against Alto Intermediary Group, owned by Cobra chief executive Steve Burrows, in the bidding war.

Both Bollington and Lark are entrepreneurial businesses led from the front and heavily dependent on the personalities running them. If those management teams leave, or are completely disengaged from the businesses they run, where’s the value? When it comes to gazumping the management, it’s a case of buyer beware.

• The inept fraudster who bragged about his crime to a friend while still on the line to his insurer may raise a few sniggers – but there’s nothing funny about fraud. This week, the new industry-funded fraud police unit secured its first conviction, against the fraudster mentioned above. But there will be more to come – hopefully of some rather more sophisticated fraudsters!

These, and the publicity surrounding them, will be vital in getting the message out to the public: fraud is not okay, and the industry will not just put up with it.

We’re working with industry leaders to write a Fraud Charter, outlining the good work already being done to battle fraud, and looking at the next steps. Crucial to these will be insurers supplying the new police unit with a steady stream of winnable cases. Roundtable coverage: Fraud Charter roundtable: Lawyers urge collaboration.