St Paul breaks up Cassidy Davis following collapse of MBO

St Paul Travelers is to break up Cassidy Davis and sell the book to the highest bidder following the collapse of a management buy-out (MBO).

Companies understood to be interested in the business include Aon, Sterling Insurance and Pinnacle.

Industry sources said the renewal rights for the £100m personal lines book would be sold off in part or as a whole.

One source said: "St Paul decided to go for the MBO offer although there were a couple of private equity houses who were also interested. However, the funding fell through, leaving the company with no option but to break the business up."

Buyers linked to the purchase of Cassidy Davis prior to the MBO included private investors led by Neil Utley, ex-chief executive of Cox, and David Gundlach, chief executive of Hastings Direct.

The Cassidy Davis business consists of Syndicate 5000, writing payment protection, affinity products, medical expenses, mortgage indemnity and engineering business.

The company is also understood to be offering the long-term life business in Syndicate 779 to the market.

A source said: "There are a number of companies now thought to be interested in buying the renewal rights on some or all of the book, including Pinnacle, Aon and Sterling."

St Paul Travelers marketing manger Peter Elliott said: "We were in a stage of exclusive negotiations with one prospective purchaser. We have now opened up the negotiations to a number of prospective purchasers and a number of prospective options."