Marsh & McLennan to buy JLT for $5.7bn

BY Richard Summerfield

Marsh & McLennan, one of the world’s largest insurance brokers, has agreed to acquire British rival Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) for around $5.7bn. The deal, the latest in a series of mergers in the insurance sector, is expected to close in spring 2019, subject to customary antitrust and regulatory approvals, and the approval of JLT’s shareholders.

Under the terms of the deal, holders of JLT's common shares will receive a cash consideration of £19.15 for every JLT share held, a 38 percent premium on the average price of JLT’s shares over the past three months. The total cash consideration equates to $5.6bn in fully diluted equity value, or an estimated enterprise value of $6.4bn. The transaction will be funded by a combination of cash on hand and proceeds from debt financing.

"The acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson creates a compelling value proposition for our clients, our colleagues and our shareholders,” said Dan Glaser, president and chief executive of Marsh & McLennan. “The complementary fit between our companies creates a platform to deliver exceptional service to clients and opportunities for our colleagues. On a personal level, I have come to know, and respect, Dominic Burke and his management team from my time both at MMC and as an underwriter. I am confident that with the addition of the talented colleagues of JLT, Marsh & McLennan will be an even stronger and more dynamic company,” he added.

The deal is expected to achieve annual cost synergies of around $250m within three years of completion, according to Marsh & McLennan, though the realisation of these cost synergies will likely result in one-time integration costs of approximately $375m. In total, Marsh & McLennan expects to cut 2 to 5 percent of the combined company’s jobs. Savings are also expected in real estate and IT operations. Annual revenue is expected to rise to $17bn after the deal closes.

The insurance space has seen a spate of consolidation deals announced this year as the industry grows accustomed to tougher regulations and more attractive prices. In March, AXA agreed to acquire XL Group for $15.3bn, around a month after American International Group said it would buy reinsurer Validus for around $5.6bn.

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