Speculation into the sale has now been confirmed

Arthur J Gallagher has this morning confirmed that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of specialist UK insurance broker Stackhouse Poland Group Limited.

Last week, Insurance Times reported that sources claimed the deal was “done”. Now, those rumours have been confirmed with Gallagher’s announcement.

Founded in 1974 as a local community broker, Stackhouse Poland has since grown organically and through strategic acquisition into a highly successful, large-scale specialist UK insurance broker generating over £55 million in annualized revenues.

Stackhouse has gone through a spell of acquisitions, purchasing four companies in three months. Most recently a specialist medical indemnity broker, Foley Healthcare Ltd t/a Bespoke Medical Indemnity (BMI).

With more than 500 employees, Stackhouse Poland operates from a network of 23 offices across the UK. It has well-established insurance divisions specializing in high-net-worth private clients, real estate, commercial, healthcare and a wide range of specialist insurance sectors.

“Having begun life as a small, general practice broker, Stackhouse Poland has since grown through a well-managed blend of organic growth and targeted acquisitions, just like Gallagher, ” said J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., chairman, president and chief executive.

“With its suite of specialisms and first-class reputation among clients in the UK marketplace, it will make an outstanding addition to our global team.”

On to the next level

Tim Johnson, group chief executive of Stackhouse Poland, commented: “In Gallagher we have found the ideal ally to take the business to the next level. It is clear that the Gallagher team shares Stackhouse Poland values – putting clients first by employing and developing top class insurance professionals.

“The support we have had from our investment partners at Synova has seen us grow into a significant business in the UK marketplace, and the time was right to find a long-term global partner.”

Jeremy Cary, executive chairman of Stackhouse Poland said: “For the last 17 years, initially with business partner James Agnew and more recently in wider partnership with Tim Johnson & Synova, we have resolutely focused on building a private client and specialist commercial broking business, where organic growth has been equally important as growth by acquisition.

”Stackhouse Poland’s success has been a consequence of the fantastic clients we serve and the equally fantastic people we employ. The Gallagher business is infused with a similar culture, where it is all about clients and colleagues, and so I am happy to be passing the baton to a great home.”

Leaving Synova

The deal means Stackhouse leaves private equity firm Synova Capital, where it has seen significant growth.

David Menton, a managing partner of Synova and a non-executive director of Stackhouse Poland said: “Stackhouse Poland represents another highly successful partnership for Synova. Having targeted the high-net-worth brokerage sector, we contacted the shareholders when revenues were sub-£10m; patiently developing the relationship led to us investing alongside newly appointed CEO, Tim Johnson, in 2014.

“Together, over the past four years, we have recruited a high quality team, rolled out scalable IT solutions across the platform, integrated acquisitions effectively, and delivered exceptional growth.

”I would personally like to pay tribute to Jeremy (Cary), James (Agnew) and Tim for their partnership, and their friendship, throughout the Stackhouse Poland-Synova journey. We wish Tim and the team continued success in their future partnership with Michael Rea and his team at Gallagher.” 

Cary commented: “It has been a pleasure working in what I have always described as a ‘true partnership’ with Synova. Their insights and guidance have allowed Stackhouse Poland, and most importantly our people, to flourish over the past four years. Synova have supported our growth strategy as well as helping us ensure our distinctive culture remained at the heart of the Group.

“From reaching out to me and my fellow shareholders in 2012 and investing in 2014, to building the strategy together and empowering the wider management team under Tim Johnson, Synova have delivered all that they promised.”

Johnson said: “I have enjoyed every minute of my four year journey with Synova; their knowledge of our industry, their understanding of the important building blocks of growth, and the discipline that comes from having a focused private equity partner has been invaluable. Most importantly, we have learnt from each other along the way.  

The deal is still subject to regulatory approval but is expected to be finalised in the coming months.