Willis to Acquire U.K. Broker Opus Holdings

November 10, 2004

Global insurance broker Willis Group Holdings announced that it has agreed to acquire Opus Holdings Limited, a U.K. regional insurance broking and group benefits consultancy business, from European buyout firm Bridgepoint Capital Limited.

Opus has annual general insurance and group benefits revenues of approximately £13 million ($24 million). The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. It is subject to, among other items, necessary regulatory approval, and is expected to close by the end of the year.

“Following the transaction’s completion Opus and the commercial division of Willis UK & Ireland will merge their operations, with the exception of the IFA business of Opus, which for regulatory reasons will trade as a separate entity, independent of Willis, while continuing to work closely with Willis business units on behalf of its customers,” said the bulletin.

Welcoming Opus CEO Ian Brice and his colleagues to Willis, Chairman and CEO Joe Plumeri commented: “Our acquisition strategy is to seek out opportunities which will be a good fit with our operations and culture and have strong growth potential. Opus is just such a business.

“In the past few weeks we have completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Coyle Hamilton, Ireland’s largest privately owned insurance broker, and Jeffries Group, the North West England insurance broker. The acquisition of Opus sustains this momentum and consolidates our leadership position in the UK and Ireland market.”

Allan Gribben, Chief Executive of Willis U.K. & Ireland stated: “Opus is an excellent business. Ian Brice and his colleagues have achieved a tremendous amount and their entrepreneurial spirit and client-focused approach is well suited to Willis. In addition, their network of regional offices complements our own very well. We look forward to their contributions.”

Ian Brice of Opus responded: “This is great news for everyone connected with Opus. Proud of our accomplishments, we now look to the future and are excited by the opportunities which being part of a larger group will bring. In recent years Willis has been the best performing and most innovative major global broker and we are very pleased to be joining such a dynamic organization.”

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