Is Martin South ready to sock it to Aon?
The world is not enough – at least not for Martin South. Marsh’s UK boss has sealed the HSBC deal, but reckons the mega broker still has room to grow. If South’s track record is anything to go by, that means further acquisitions are on the cards this year.
South has individual flair and is widely respected for steering a big ship in the right direction. Under his captaincy, Marsh’s UK business has returned to profitability and revenues have grown for the wider group. With the HSBC deal, he provided the broker with a strong presence in the Far East and made major strides in the UK mid-market – both important strategic goals.
The integration of the businesses seems to have been relatively painless and so, flushed with success, is South ready to consolidate Marsh’s position and sock it to Aon with a deal that will put it firmly at the top of the league table?
If so, he could turn his attention to Oval or Giles – or even both. The two consolidators are seeking an exit strategy in the medium term and both have been linked with Marsh in backroom chatter. The only likely sticking point is price – would South be prepared to pay enough to tempt Phillip Hodson or Chris Giles to sell?
As the soft market lingers on, some difficult decisions will have to be made. One thing’s for sure: if South pulls off a deal, it will be one for the history books.