On completion of the deal, a single brand proposition will be launched called Hedron
Global Risk Partners (GRP) has agreed to acquire Marsh’s UK Networks business, which is currently part of broker Marsh.
The Networks business includes Marsh ProBroker, Bluefin Network and Purple Partnership.
The acquisition also includes Marsh Connections, Marsh Labyrinth and Broker2Broker (B2B) – these businesses provide brokers with access to products and facilities.
Completion of the transaction is expected by the second quarter of 2021 - this will see Marsh’s UK Networks team move across to GRP.
Head of the UK Networks business David Hopwood will join the GRP executive board upon completion of the deal; he will continue to lead the firm under its new ownership.
The terms of the transaction are subject to regulatory approval and were not disclosed.
Speaking about the transaction, GRP’s group chief executive Mike Bruce said it was “a great leap forward for GRP, with the group now placing or influencing well over £1.6bn of gross written premium and cementing our position as one of the UK’s leading retail commercial broking providers”.
After its completion, the new GRP networks division will continue with its previously announced plans to transform the network into a single proposition under a brand called Hedron, which will provide members with choice and facilitate the introduction of new insurer partners to the panel.
Hedron will be launched officially following the deal.
Hopwood previously worked with Bruce at Bluefin.
Bruce continued: “[Hopwood] and I go back many years and I’m a big admirer of what he has achieved to date at Marsh and previously at Bluefin.
”He and his team will be a key asset for GRP and we intend to continue the work he has started, building a single brand and proposition for the Network.”
Hopwood added: “This is a growth story. There won’t be any redundancies. Instead, we want to increase penetration of the Marsh Networks panel, build out the membership base, engage with our strategic insurer partners for the benefit of members and bring new products and services to the network - including through our MGA and healthcare businesses.”
He said that an important part of the GRP proposition will be to offer M&A facilities to network members wishing to sell up.
“GRP has a highly experienced acquisitions team and we are keen to provide that service to brokers looking to create value from their life’s work. With some brokers looking for an exit in light of potential tax changes, the impact of Brexit and further compliance challenges, we are here to help,” Hopwood said.
As part of the transaction, some colleagues within Marsh Commercial’s London Markets Business (LMB) team, led by Bob Peterson, will be transferred to GRP.
Peterson will continue leading the team, which will become part of Lonmar, GRP’s Lloyd’s and London markets division. Whereas the LMB’s placement team, which supports Marsh Commercial’s branches, will remain with Marsh.
Chris Lay, chief executive of Marsh, UK and Ireland, said he was pleased that GRP is to become the new custodian of the UK Networks business.
He continued: “Bruce and his team understand the broking business and market environment our members operate in and will ensure that our Networks colleagues and the Network members can continue to thrive.
“We have a very strong position in the SME segment and we are excited about the organic growth opportunities in our Marsh Commercial business. This transaction will enable us to increase our investment and focus on the core Marsh Commercial offering to the UK SME market.”
Meanwhile, Andrew Frey, partner at Searchlight Capital Partners, which acquired GRP in 2020, added: “This is just the kind of bold move we expected when we invested in GRP.
“The addition of Marsh’s UK Networks business to GRP’s business portfolio will enable their members to derive the considerable benefits that come with being part of our group. I am confident that all parties will achieve significant value from this acquisition.”