The deal marks the first step in Cinven’s new financial services-focused strategy
International private equity firm Cinven and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC have reached an agreement to buy specialist insurance and (re)insurance broker Miller from corporate member and partner Willis Towers Watson (WTW) – the deal is expected to complete in quarter one next year, subject to regulatory approval.
The transaction marks Cinven’s first steps in accomplishing its new financial services sector-focused strategy – it will continue to look for similar long-term opportunities across Europe.
Miller, which was founded in 1902, operates in the UK, Lloyd’s and internationally across a range of specialist areas such as marine, energy, credit and political risks, delegated authorities, professional risks, property, casualty, sports and entertainment and (re)insurance.
Placing £2bn worth of premiums annually, the business currently employs more than 640 staff across offices in London, Ipswich, Brussels, Paris, Singapore and Geneva.
Speaking on the deal, Greg Collins, chief executive of Miller, said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with Cinven and GIC, whose knowledge and insurance investment expertise will enormously support our business as we enter this important next phase of growth.
“We are excited about bringing together our combined expertise to bolster our best in class client service and solutions and strengthen Miller’s position in our core activities. This includes making incremental targeted, strategic investments as we look to realise our ambition of becoming the leading independent specialist (re)insurance broking firm.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank WTW for their support over the last five years.”
Cinven and GIC cite five key reasons why they believe Miller is an attractive investment opportunity. Firstly, because the business has a high-quality, cash generative model, with strong brand equity and a recurring revenue base; it has a strong position in the wholesale insurance markets with a long-standing client base and internal talent; and it has a proven track record of steady and consistent growth, delivering robust performances during prior downturns and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The duo further think that Miller will benefit from independent ownership, as this can help to accelerate its long-term growth profile via organic growth, recruiting new specialist brokers and bolt-on M&A activity. They also believe that as the underlying insurance market is forecast to grow, this could present an “additional upside for specialty insurers”.
In the UK, Cinven has invested in Guardian Financial Services, Partnership Assurance, NewDay and Premium Credit. It has also invested in Eurovita in Italy and Viridium in Germany.
GIC, on the other hand, has invested in companies such as Rothesay and RAC in the UK, Mass Mutual Asia in Hong Kong and China Pacific Insurance group in China.
Luigi Sbrozzi, partner at Cinven, said: “Cinven is delighted to be making this investment in Miller alongside GIC.
“Miller is a highly attractive, resilient specialist insurance business with strong long-term growth opportunities across all of its segments and a history of consistent growth through various economic cycles. We see opportunities both organically, by recruiting new specialist brokers, and through incremental M&A over time.
“Miller also offers a scalable platform, particularly internationally, with associated benefits for clients as the business develops and expands over the long-term. We believe that independent ownership is the right model to really accelerate the company’s growth.”
Yong Cheen Choo, chief investment officer of private equity at GIC, added: “Miller is one of the top and most established wholesale brokers with highly respected franchises in areas such as marine and energy, sports and entertainment and cargo.
“We are pleased to partner with Cinven and look forward to supporting Greg Collins and his team to seize future expansion opportunities for Miller. As a long-term investor, we are confident in the growth potential of the specialty insurance sector, and of Miller within it.”
Cinven and GIC’s advisors included Barclays, Clifford Chance, Bain, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte, Marsh and FTI Consulting.
Advisors to the sellers included Goldman Sachs International, Herbert Smith Freehills, Addleshaw Goddard and Jamieson Corporate Finance.