Willis Completes Opus Holdings (UK) Acquisition

December 22, 2004

Willis Group Holdings announced that it has completed the acquisition of Opus Holdings Limited, a UK-based regional insurance broking and group benefits consultancy business, from the European buyout firm Bridgepoint Capital Limited. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“Opus has annual general insurance and group benefits revenues of approximately £13 million ($24 million),” said the bulletin. Willis plans to merge most of Opus’ business into its U.K. and Ireland commercial division. However, the bulletin noted that for regulatory reasons, Opus’ IFA business “will trade as a separate entity, independent of Willis, while continuing to work closely with Willis business units on behalf of its customers.”

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.

“Earlier this year, we 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”.

Willis UK & Ireland Chief Executive Allan Gribben, added: “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 replied: “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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