Barney & Barney LLC, one of Southern California’s oldest and largest privately held brokerages, announced Monday that it will combine with Saylor & Hill Co., an Oakland-based insurance brokerage. The transaction is expected to close on March 31, 2008.
Paul Hering, CEO and managing principal of the nearly 100-year-old Barney & Barney, said both companies bring strong balance sheets to the merger and that no downsizing or staff reductions are planned. “This is not a transaction motivated in any way by downsizing,” said Hering. “We’re looking at one plus one equals three. These are two very strong companies coming together.”
Hering characterized the merger as a perfect fit for both businesses. “We look forward to working together to grow our offices in both Southern and Northern California,” said Hering. “It makes us a bigger, stronger organization that has a statewide footprint and is better diversified, and with that we’ll be able to leverage that strength in the marketplace on behalf of our clients.”
Because the two companies overlap in many areas, such as technology and life sciences risks, Hering predicted that combining the two firms would lead to positive synergy. In other areas, he said Barney & Barney hopes to export its expertise to Saylor & Hill, and vice versa.
Hering noted that both Barney & Barney and Saylor & Hill are very protective of their corporate culture and are committed to remaining privately held. “We would not be doing this deal if we did not think there was a great fit between our two companies,” he said. “We feel very positive about the people who are there and the leadership team.”
Mike Mirsky, principal and managing director of the Oakland-based Saylor & Hill, which was formed in 1933, echoed those sentiments. “Being privately held allows us to keep our clients at the forefront of what we do,” he said.
Currently Barney & Barney has 25 owners who are active in the business, while Saylor & Hill has seven owners. Hering said this type of ownership structure would continue to allow the organization to attract and retain top talent. “They know that if they are an outstanding performer they may have an opportunity to become an owner in the company,” he said.
While Barney & Barney and Saylor & Hill will each retain their individual names, office locations, staffing and management, the combined entity will be referred to as “B&B Company.” Hering will be the CEO and managing principal of the combined organization and will be based in San Diego. Mirsky will be a principal in the firm and managing director of the Bay Area office.
The combined firm will employ almost 300 associates and oversee more than 25,000 client accounts generating $62 million in annual revenue and representing more than $1 billion in annual premiums.
According to Hering, the company has no plans at this time for additional mergers or acquisitions. “We’re going to focus on our three principal offices doing well and performing well,” he said.
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