Willis to Acquire Sweden’s Employee Benefits Provider Max Matthiessen

May 27, 2014

Willis Group Holdings plc announced that it will acquire a controlling stake of approximately 75 percent in Max Matthiessen, an employee benefits adviser in Sweden, for $205 million.

Willis said the acquisition “underlines its commitment to grow its global Human Capital and Benefits practice in the medium term, and reflects its strategy of driving growth through the acquisition of focused, sophisticated businesses with strong franchises and distinctive skills.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, complements and strengthens Willis’ existing operations in Sweden. The increased revenue will make the combined business the biggest risk adviser and broker in the Nordic region and the largest international adviser in Sweden.”

The bulletin described Max Matthiessen as “one of Sweden’s leading independent advisers in retirement savings, health plans and personal insurance. The Company, with around 420 employees in 23 locations across Sweden, generated in 2013 net revenues of 805 million Swedish Kronor, or approximately $122 million. In 2013, the Company’s adjusted EBITDA was 180 million Swedish Kronor, or approximately $27.2 million, and net income to common shareholders was 115 million Swedish Kronor, or approximately $17.4 million.”

Willis Sweden and Max Matthiessen entered a strategic partnership in 2009. Willis explained that Max Matthiessen’s employees “currently own 50 percent of the Company, while the remaining 50 percent is held by Altor Fund III. Under the terms of the agreement, Willis will invest 1.357 billion Swedish Kronor – or $205 million – to acquire approximately 75 percent of the Company, with employees retaining a stake of approximately 25 percent.”

Willis’ CEO Dominic Casserley said the company is “committed to growing in areas of opportunity for market leadership and where we can develop specialized capabilities locally and globally. Max Matthiessen fits that model perfectly. It sustains our investment in the Human Capital and Benefits space, where we are creating leading specialized capabilities. We are confident that the combination of Willis and Max Matthiessen can fuel growth in both Sweden and beyond.

“Max Matthiessen is a well-run business with a long history and an impressive list of loyal clients. We will be retaining the brand, the skills and the culture, and I look forward to welcoming more than 400 new colleagues into the Willis Group.”

Tim Wright, CEO of Willis International, and leader of the global Human Capital and Benefits practice, added: “This is an important deal that reflects our commitment to employee benefits and our confidence in the Nordic region. Max Matthiessen serves markets where we see solid growth fundamentals underpinned by changing demographics and increasing demand for retirement and health solutions. We also see a unique opportunity to share Max Matthiessen’s best-in-class expertise across our global Human Capital and Benefits business.”

Christoffer Folkebo, CEO of Max Matthiessen, indicated his group is “very happy” to become part Willis Group. “The combined business will benefit both sides and we are looking forward to the ability of offering our customers a broader product portfolio,” he added. “Max Matthiessen will operate under the same brand as before, with the same organization, but with Willis’ international knowledge and experience enabling us to expand even further.”

Johan Forsgård, CEO of Willis Sweden, noted that Willis has a well-established presence in the Nordic region, and that the acquisition would be a “boost to our footprint, making us the international frontrunner in both Sweden and the Nordics.

“There is a lot of scope for growth, and this expansion supports our group-wide drive to bring a wider range of Willis’ solutions to our clients,” he continued. Willis Sweden and Max Matthiessen have been working together for the past five years, and we look forward to building on that successful relationship. We are proud and excited to be joining forces to bring the best of both organizations here in Sweden to all of our clients.”

Source: Willis Group Holdings plc

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