Brokers become third and fourth consolidators to be linked to M&A in past week

Stuart Reid, Bluefin

Bluefin plans to make six acquisitions this year, with two already nearing completion and awaiting approval from the FSA, Insurance Times has learnt.

Sources suggested announcements on the two acquisitions were due this quarter and possibly as early as the beginning of February.

Bluefin chief executive Stuart Reid confirmed the consolidator planned to make several acquisitions before the end of the year, but would not be drawn on whether any deal had been completed.

Meanwhile, Jelf Group is also actively undertaking discussions with a view to making acquisitions in 2013. Chief executive Alex Always said the group expected to announce “at least one if not more acquisitions in 2013”.

“Many brokers would buy subject to access to funds. Most of the appetite will be for small bolt-on acquisitions to existing branch networks. However, there is a high expectation on price from those who would sell,” Reid said.

He added Bluefin was “actively talking with people about a number of acquisitions”, adding that the broker hoped to make several announcements later in the year.

The consolidators are the third and fourth brokers to have been linked with acquisitions in the marketplace in the past week, following the announcement by Peter Blanc that Oval planned to make several acquisitions over the coming year and the news that AJ Gallagher was among three suitors in discussion with Barbon Group.

Blanc told Insurance Times last week that Oval was targeting earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £30m annually over the next two to three years and was targeting EBITDA of £20m this year.