Private Equity firm takes majority stake in the business

Private equity form Searchlight has completed its acquisition of a majority stake in GRP after the deal received the green light from regulators.

The deal, originally announced in February, also sees a shake-up in the management team.

Mike Bruce becomes group chief executive while David Margrett takes on the role of non-executive chairman, and co-founder Peter Cullum becomes a non-executive director of the group holding company. 

Both Margrett and Cullum will retain minority stakes in the business, alongside original investor Penta Capital.

Industry veteran Andy Homer, who already chairs the retail division, becomes non-executive chairman of the group. 

Bruce, who spoke to Insurance Times before the deal concluded, said the group would continue to plough ahead with its acquisition strategy, despite headlines from the Covid-19 crisis.

In a joint statement, Cullum and Margrett said the Searchlight deal was “an important milestone” for GRP.

“Searchlight is the right partner to support the Group on the next stage of its journey, and we look forward to working closely with them as GRP continues to grow”, they said.

On Bruce’s appointment, they said they were confident he had “the experience, skillset and market relationships to drive the business forward at pace and deliver against GRP’s ambitions to further capitalise on the significant market opportunity ahead”. 

“To achieve what we have done from a standing start is a great testament to the quality of the team we have built, the 59 businesses we have acquired, and our ability to enhance their propositions through our insurer network, technology and operational and product support.

”At the heart of our profitable growth model stands an entrepreneurial, client-focused culture of which we are proud and which serves as a solid foundation for a successful long-term future.”

Commenting, Bruce thanked Cullum and Margrett ”for the business they had created and the leadership they have shown”.

 ”They have been pivotal in GRP reaching this landmark and as highly regarded figures in our industry, I am delighted that we will continue to benefit from their insight, knowledge and experience.

 “I have a strong and experienced senior management team in Stephen Ross (Head of M&A), Phil Rock (CFO) and Clive Nathan (CEO Underwriting), who, working alongside Searchlight, share my ambition to continue to grow GRP and build on its reputation as a great business that is home to outstanding entrepreneurial talent, focused on providing superior, differentiated products and service to our clients.

 “With Searchlight’s support, we are confident that our rapid growth will continue as we acquire further businesses that fit our culture and model.

”Our pipeline remains strong and undisturbed by the recent Covid-19 challenges.”

GRP, founded in 2013, owns 59 regional brokers, MGAs, and Lloyd’s businesses, with a GWP of £800m.