Marsh paid a high earnings multiple for Bluefin

Marsh paid 14.4 times earnings to acquire Bluefin, very close to the valuation of 14.6 times it gave Jelf, Insurance Times calculations show.

The high multiple has surprised some observers, as Bluefin’s profitability had been deteriorating and was not considered as strong a company as Jelf.

But others feel the price is justified because of Bluefin’s rarity – it was the last available broker of that size that was available to buy.

Marsh announced it was buying Bluefin from AXA last month for £295m. The broking giant expects to complete the purchase in the first quarter of next year.

It completed its £258m purchase of Jelf, also a big-hitter in the UK retail commercial broking space, in January this year. Marsh plans to merge Bluefin into Jelf.