The acquisition of Guardian is the first for County since it was bought by GRP

GRP-owned broker The County Group has acquired a majority stake in Guardian Insurance Brokers.

This is the first deal that County, which is headquartered in Crewe, has completed since becoming part of GRP in January this year.

Guardian handles £14m in premium and, being based in Wigan, County chief executive Dave Clapp said it “complemented their current footprint perfectly”.

He added: “I am absolutely delighted to announce we have acquired a majority shareholding in Guardian.

“This is the first of many acquisitions planned under the banner of GRP Group, as we work towards achieving our plan to double our size over the next five years.”

With the acquisition of Guardian, County handles over £80m GWP, from 25 branches, predominantly in the Northwest.

“Fantastic business”

And Clapp said that Guardian co-founders Steve Smith and Adrian Mead will continue to run the business.

He said: “Steve, Adrian and the team have built a fantastic business over the last five years, delivering phenomenal growth, and we are really excited about working together in the future.”

Managing director Smith added: “County Group are the right choice for us as partners on the next stage in our journey.

“Dave Clapp and his team share our aspirations and ethos, and now we have joined forces with one of the most driven and ambitious insurance businesses in the UK, we are all really excited about the future.”

Mike Bruce, GRP’s chief executive of broking said: “GRP is fully committed to accelerating growth through our UK regional centres, and we have a strong pipeline both via the hubs and through potential acquisitions at Group level.

“Guardian is a very strong business with a tradition of excellent client service. I am delighted it is joining GRP, where I am confident it will go from strength to strength.”

The deal has received regulatory approval and the consideration is undisclosed.

GRP has now acquired 30 businesses to date and handles in excess of £650m GWP.