This latest deal brings in £13.8m annual premium income (API), made up mainly of larger SME and corporate clients. In addition, whilst co- founders and directors Jon Tuer and Liz Magnall are leaving to focus on their other business interests outside of insurance, all the remaining Atlas staff have joined Chase Templeton.
Commenting on the reasons for sale Jon Tuer said: "Whilst Liz and I were keen to fully realise the value of our shareholdings in order to focus on our other business interests, we were equally keen to ensure both our staff and clients were going to be well looked after going forwards. We were also greatly reassured by Chase Templeton’s proven track record in successfully integrating acquired businesses."
This is the fifth deal Chase Templeton has concluded this year and the 49th since it secured the backing of Palatine Private Equity in 2013 - the broker now generates over £125m API.
Warren Dickson, Chief Executive, Chase Templeton said: “Not only is this the biggest deal we have concluded, strategically it is one of the most important. It will enable us to further build our business by widening our footprint into the larger SME and corporate market in which Atlas has historically been a strong performer. This supports a wider strategic aim to be among the UK’s top five SME medical insurance brokers by the close of the year. Another key benefit is that thanks to the exceptional calibre of the Atlas staff who are now joining us, we are gaining further depth and breadth of expertise.”
This deal also reaffirms the company’s previously stated commitment to drive through fewer but bigger acquisitions this year having completed no fewer than 26 purchases of brokers and books in 2014.
It also means Chase Templeton now employs nearly 100 staff, almost twice as many as when Dickson was appointed in March 2013 following the securing of Palatine’s backing. The company, which was founded in 2002, now protects over 110,000 lives.
Chase Templeton was advised by Shoosmiths Manchester office.
Palatine, which backed the company in 2011, has achieved a 3.5x return on investment and will co-invest for a minority stake alongside Equistone and the management team, which continues to be led by Chief Executive David Cassidy.
Liverpool based Wealth at Work offers financial education, regulated advice and wealth management services designed specifically for the workplace and delivered nationally by a team of specialists. The company works with many FTSE employers such as Marks & Spencer as well as a number of leading financial services companies. Wealth at Work employs over 120 staff and has educated more than 80,000 employees covering a range of subjects from pensions to share scheme diversification and redundancy to retirement planning.
Wealth at Work is the fourth successful exit from Palatine’s first fund which has already produced excellent returns from Hallmark Hotels, Air Energi and XLN Telecom.
Palatine are currently investing their third fund which closed in June 2015 at £220m.
David Cassidy, Chief Executive of Wealth at Work, said: "This new significant investment into Wealth at Work will allow us to continue to grow quickly and therefore meet the rapidly increasing demand for our services which are now used by a number of the largest companies in the UK. I very much look forward to working with Equistone and further developing our offering to our clients, delivering innovation and setting new standards of best practice. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Palatine for the support they have provided so far, and we look forward to continuing our work with them as we take our business to the next chapter."
Gary Tipper, Managing Partner at Palatine Private Equity, said: "It has been a pleasure working with David and the management team. The business has developed an excellent reputation in the marketplace and has successfully capitalised on the need for improved engagement with employers, so we’re excited about its prospects over the next few years."
A team at Deloitte comprising Andy Westbrook, Olly Tebbutt and Harry Jones provided corporate finance advice on the transaction. Deloitte also provided financial and commercial due diligence, led by Richard Bell, Dan Wright and Andrew Power. Nick Roome, Paul Kelly and Chris Hardman at KPMG provided legal advice to Equistone and Jonathan Robinson and Katy Philips at DWF advised the company.
This latest acquisition adds a further £3.1m in annual premium income and follows the purchases of Medins Group, Get Private and Medical Insurance Advisors. In total the deals have brought some £12.4m of predominantly SME generated API to the business.
Bushey based Best Go Private was founded in 2010 by former Association of Medical Insurers & Intermediaries Association (AMII) treasurer, Graeme Godfrey and his wife Lucy. The firm’s client’s base includes nearly 250 SMEs and 550 individual policyholders.
Graeme, who has over 25 years financial services experience and has worked in the PMI sector since 1997, said the sale allowed for full realisation of assets whilst protecting client interests.
"I was naturally keen to secure a good and fair financial return but I was equally concerned to ensure that our clients would continue to be well looked after. I was impressed with Chase Templeton’s record in the acquisition and integration of businesses like ours,that they understand they are buying goodwill and that, therefore, if they don’t deliver on service then they’ve bought fresh air."
Best Go Private’s corporate clients will be served from Chase Templeton’s SME Centre of Excellence based at headquarters in Darwen. Individual client accounts will be administered by the equivalent Individuals centre at the company’s offices in Bridgwater, Somerset.
Commenting on the latest acquisition Chase Templeton’s mergers and acquisitions director, Jeff Tate, said: "Graeme is particularly well known and respected in the industry, not least for his active participation on the AMII executive committee. In Best Go Private he built and led an exceptional, service led company which offers an excellent fit with our own business model."
Chase Templeton is now regarded as the leading consolidator in the PMI sector. Since securing backing in 2013 from Manchester-based Palatine Private Equity it has invested over £18m in purchasing brokers, books and IFAs. In that time it has sealed more than 40 deals as it pursues a highly successful ‘buy and build’ strategy with the enlarged business now protecting over 110,000 lives.
Founded in 2002 the company now employs nearly 80 staff who serve in excess of 35,000 corporate and individual clients.