Willis Group Holdings, the global insurance broker, announced that it has reached agreement in principle to acquire a majority shareholding in Coyle Hamilton, the Republic of Ireland’s largest privately owned insurance broker, and will acquire the remaining interest over the next several years.
The bulletin noted that the “transaction is subject to shareholder approval and securing the necessary regulatory approvals,” and did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement.
“Coyle Hamilton has annualized revenue of approximately 50 million euros ($60 million),” said Willis’ announcement. “Established over 100 years ago and with offices in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Belfast and London, its approximately 500 employees serve a broad range of multinational, corporate and personal clients.”
Willis plans to rebrand the New enterprise as Coyle Hamilton Willis, and indicated that the “combined operation will have leading positions in insurance broking, employee benefits, reinsurance broking and risk management.” Willis plans to integrate its existing business in the Republic of Ireland within Coyle Hamilton Willis, while the “businesses of Coyle Hamilton in Belfast and London will be integrated with the businesses of Willis in those markets.”
Willis Chairman and CEO Joe Plumeri commented: “I’m delighted to welcome the Coyle Hamilton team to Willis. As a Group, we have major growth plans and Coyle Hamilton, with its strong local market positions, excellent reputation for client service and highly professional and experienced workforce will play a significant role in helping us realize our ambitions.
“This acquisition is consistent with our growth strategy to secure leadership positions in key markets and reflects the Willis Model of combining access to global resources with local expertise and close client relationships.”
Coyle Hamilton CEO Hugh Governey indicated: “The insurance, reinsurance and benefits consulting businesses have become increasingly global over the past decade. This transaction will enable the businesses of Coyle Hamilton and Willis to offer a significantly enhanced range of services and resources to our clients. We do not believe we could have found a more attractive global partner than Willis which has enjoyed exceptional success and growth in recent years.”
Ken Mahony, Chief Executive of Willis in the Republic of Ireland, stated: “We have always held the Coyle Hamilton team in the highest regard and we are very pleased to be joining forces with them. The creation of Coyle Hamilton Willis is great news for both the new company’s clients and its employees.”
Willis said that Governey would lead the new Coyle Hamilton Willis business in the Republic of Ireland and Jim Halliday, currently head of Willis Northern Ireland, would lead the combined business there. Other appointments and detailed management structures will be advised as soon as these are established as part of the integration process.