Saturday, October 1, 2022

Ireland’s Inovu sold to US insurer Gallagher in a new deal for brokerage markets

Ireland's Inovu sold to US insurer Gallagher in a new deal for brokerage markets

Global insurance broker Gallagher has entered the increasingly consolidating Irish market with the purchase of Inovu, a private-equity-backed brand that has been buying out local brokers for the past four years.

That deal, estimated to cost Gallagher in the region of €30m, would establish an on-the-ground presence for the US-based broker, which already has a large operation in the UK.

“The acquisition of Inovu Insurance provides the perfect launch-pad in Ireland,” said Michael Rea, CEO of Gallagher’s Retail Division, UK & Ireland.

This is the latest in a series of recent transactions in the sector as large brokers and private equity funds tend to buy smaller players with good income profiles and strong client relationships.

Inovu was founded in 2018 by Chief Executive Ronan Foley and backed by private shareholders and private equity firm MML Growth Partners, which acquired Sheridan Insurance, one of the largest broker groups in the Northeast.

The company quickly built scale through a series of further acquisitions of regional brokers including Wexford Insurance, Goggin Insurance Brokers, Cullen Insurance and Pei Kelly Insurance.

Inovu’s 135 employees serve a customer base of 45,000, helping Gallagher gain a strong foothold in a market that is experiencing significant merger and acquisition activity.

The company generated €7.9m in revenue in 2020, the most recent year for which accounts are available.

Cote Devil, the low-cost broker that was sold in April to the private equity group behind Chill Insurance, had €6.8m in revenue the same year and was sold for €30m, according to figures revealed in a recent court case.

Other big deals over the past year include the sale of Chill Insurance and Gallivan Murphy – both for €100m – and several bolt-on acquisitions by Irish conglomerate Archas and UK broker Aston Lark.

Private equity and large international brokers are looking for more deals here, thanks to a highly fragmented market that is facing cost pressures from regulation.

Nation World News Desk
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