Rumoured sale of stake in one of largest independent brokers.

Speculation surrounded the future of £125m GWP Leeds-based broker Henderson this week, with market rumours that it could sell a stake in the business to a private equity firm.

Henderson, one of the largest remaining independent brokers in the UK, was believed to be in discussions with an unnamed private equity firm, according to senior market sources.

But Joe Henderson, chief executive of Henderson, denied that any negotiations were taking place and said the business was not up for sale.

Despite revealing that there had been discussions in the past, Henderson said the business would concentrate on its own growth.

“We had discussions with people 12 months ago just to keep an eye on what was happening in the market,” he said. “There is nothing happening now and there won’t be for the foreseeable future.”

Henderson said the broker could soon complete a deal that would see it open two further bolt-on offices.

It currently has nine offices, including two in Leeds, as well as bases in Manchester and London.

The business is set to release its latest financial results next month, where it is expected to report a brokerage of almost £14m, compared to £11.3m the previous year.

It was recently ranked in 71st position in the Profit Track 100 league table and saw profit increase by 57% to £3.4m in the last year.

Henderson said he had discussed floating the company on AIM in the past, but admitted it was not yet big enough.

So far this year, private equity firm Charterhouse Capital Partners invested in Giles Insurance Brokers and 3i bought a minority stake in insurance group Hyperion after taking a 27.9% stake in Jelf in February..