The move will bring ‘two of the last remaining independent outfits of scale together to create the largest privately owned specialty broker in London’, says broker chief exec

The Ardonagh Group has agreed to buy the insurance operations of global broker and financial technology firm BGC Partners for a cash consideration of $500m, subject to regulatory approval.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ardonagh will acquire 100% of Ed Broking Group and Besso Insurance, which were recently grouped together under the Corant Global brand.

Businesses included within this group are global wholesale and specialty (re)insurance broker Ed, Lloyd’s broker Besso, aviation specialist Piiq Risk Partners, German marine broker Junge, UK-based MGA Globe Underwriting, Australian MGA Epsilon Underwriting and European MGA Cooper Gay.

These brands, which contributed approximately $191m in revenue during the 12-month period ending 31 March 2021, employ around 900 staff.

The broker plans to house its new entities within Ardonagh Specialty, which is currently comprised of Price Forbes, Bishopsgate and Compass London Markets.

It will fund the acquisition using a combination of equity and debt.

Speaking on the transaction, Ardonagh chief executive David Ross said: “We’re delighted to welcome each of BGC’s insurance brokerage businesses to our Ardonagh Specialty platform.

“This is a compelling shakeup of the global wholesale landscape, bringing two of the last remaining independent outfits of scale together to create the largest privately owned specialty broker in London, safeguarding choice for both clients and employees.

“A backdrop of unprecedented levels of consolidation has created a vacuum in the market, a space from which the BGC and Ardonagh businesses will emerge together as a preeminent force, restoring balance and cultivating a preferred destination for top performing talent.”

A new chapter

James Masterton, chief executive of Ardonagh Specialty, described the deal as “a hugely complementary acquisition, aligning and accelerating our ambitions in the global specialty arena”.

He continued: “The specialist broking and underwriting teams within the BGC operations are highly respected in their fields and their market leading progress in digitisation matches our own.

“We know that clients are looking for more innovation, for both product and capacity delivery, and our joined-up efforts in this space will ensure we remain competitive.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Wallin, president of BGC Insurance, said the acquisition “marks the start of a new and exciting chapter for us all”.

“We are joining an organisation that has scale, a track record of success in our industry and a shared vision to empower our broking and underwriting businesses,” he added.

Steve Hearn, chief executive of BGC Insurance, said: “It is exciting to announce the sale of our insurance operations to The Ardonagh Group.

“Thanks to the efforts of our colleagues and under the parentage of BGC we have seen a tremendous period of growth. We plan for that upward trajectory to continue.”