Marsh & McLennan, the world’s biggest insurance broker is reportedly seeking to acquire Heath Lambert, a London-based brokerage firm for around $578 million.
According to a report from Reuters News Agency representatives of Marsh Inc. have had preliminary discussions with Heath Lambert about a possible acquisition. Neither company has commented on the report.
Heath Lambert had planned a public offering of its shares last year, but dropped the attempt due to the weakness in the equity markets. Reuters’ report indicated that at that time the company would have been valued at between £406 million and £469 million ($670 million and $775 million), which would make Marsh’s reported offer of £350 million ($578 million) appear low.
The broker suffered a business decline following the Sept. 11 attacks, but has bounced back sharply in the recent hard market posting revenues for its 2002 fiscal year ended March 31, 2003 of £278.9 million ($460.5 million), while operating profits rose by 35 percent to £49 million ($81 million).
Reuters also indicated that Candover Investments and Advent and Phoenix Equity Partners, two investment firms that together control approximately two-thirds of Heath Lambert’, are “looking for an exit strategy,” and could be expected to play an important role in any dealings with Marsh.
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