Aon to Buy Real Estate Investment Mgmt. Firm, Townsend Group, for $475M

By | September 5, 2017

Insurance broker Aon Plc said on Friday [Sept. 1] it would buy real estate investment management firm The Townsend Group from Colony NorthStar Inc for $475 million, helping expand its property investment management portfolio.

Aon has been tweaking its portfolio this year. In May it closed a deal to sell its benefits administration and HR outsourcing to private equity firm Blackstone Group for $4.8 billion.

Headquartered in London, Aon is a risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and also provides human resources solutions and outsourcing services to companies in more than 120 countries.

The Townsend deal will boost Aon’s outsourced chief investment officer services by adding more real estate investments. The company’s investment arm has more than $100 billion of assets under management.

Townsend’s chief executive, Terry Ahern, will continue to lead real estate and real asset investment services, Aon said.

NorthStar Asset Management took a majority stake in the Townsend Group from private equity firm GTCR LLC in 2015 for $380 million. NorthStar Asset Management earlier this year was part of a three-way merger with NorthStar Realty Finance Corp and private equity firm Colony Capital Inc.

Morgan Stanley was the financial adviser for the Aon deal, Colony NorthStar said.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; additional reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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