But talks over deal collapsed, reveals Hodson.
See analysis: The Giles saga
Oval has rejected an audacious attempt by private equity firm Charterhouse, the majority stakeholder in Giles Insurance Brokers, to combine the two businesses and create a broking giant.
Phillip Hodson, group chief executive of Oval, told Insurance Times the Charterhouse proposal would have led to the merged firms being rebranded as Oval.
His comments came after intense market speculation that Oval had rejected an approach from Giles after lengthy talks. Hodson denied the claim, saying Oval was not for sale.
“Oval was never in a position to consider being acquired by Giles,” said Hodson.
“Three months ago, Oval was approached by Charterhouse with a proposal for Oval to reverse into Giles, and for the combined companies to be rebranded under the Oval banner.”
Hodson added: “The proposal did not reach due diligence stage; Oval considered and rejected the offer.
“As ever, Oval intends to remain independent and we have no plans to sell the company.”
Charterhouse refused to comment. A Giles spokesman said: “Giles does not comment on speculation relating to potential transactions.”
However, a source close to Giles said any such approach would have been made by the Giles management team, not Charterhouse.
Giles has acquired almost 20 brokers this year as it attempts to grow the business to £1bn gross written premium (GWP) after selling a majority stake to Charterhouse earlier this year.
The sale to Charterhouse handed Giles an acquisition war chest of £500m. Following the deal, Chris Giles, the broker’s chief executive, suggested he would make a move on rival consolidators Oval and Jelf in an attempt to compete with the likes of Towergate and Venture Preference, AXA’s broking arm.
“The three of us could take on the big two,” he said.
Giles has completed two acquisitions in the past week. It acquired Dickson Insurance Brokers, which has GWP of £7.2m, and NG Insurance, the sixth Welsh broker it has bought.
Chris Giles said: “We are extremely positive about the future of Giles in Wales.”
Last month, Giles confirmed that managing director Michael Quinn had stepped down following the Charterhouse deal, but said he would remain at the business until September next year to mentor his successor, Andrew Watson.
Derek Gardner, the broker’s finance director, also stepped down after the Charterhouse deal. He was replaced by Paul Matson in July. Mark Chambers was appointed deputy managing director.