Specialist (re)insurance broker Miller is to be acquired from its partners and corporate member Willis Towers Watson by international private equity firm Cinven and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.
The transaction is expected to complete in Q1 2021 and is subject to regulatory approval.
Founded in 1902, Miller is a specialist (re)insurance brokerage operating in the UK, Lloyd’s and Internationally. It employs more than 640 people through its offices in London, Ipswich, Brussels, Paris, Singapore and Geneva, covering the world’s major insurance hubs.
The firm operates across a number of specialist areas, including marine, energy, credit and political risks, delegated authorities, professional risks, property, casualty, sports and entertainment and (re)insurance.
The Miller transaction represents the first investment from Cinven’s new financial services sector-focused strategy, which will be looking at similar long-term opportunities across Europe. Cinven Funds’ prior investments in the European insurance space include Guardian Financial Services in the UK, Eurovita in Italy, and Viridium in Germany.
Other UK-headquartered financial services investments by the Cinven Funds include Partnership Assurance, NewDay and Premium Credit. GIC has invested in companies such as Rothesay and RAC in the UK, Mass Mutual Asia in Hong Kong, and China Pacific Insurance group in China.
In a recent press release Cinven and GIC both state, they believe Miller is an investment opportunity based on numerous factors including:
- The high-quality, cash generative business model, with strong brand equity and an attractive, recurring revenue base;
- Its strong position in the wholesale insurance markets with a long-standing client base, strong management team and deep bench of talent with significant expertise across its specialist areas;
- Its proven track record of steady and consistent growth in recent years, delivering robust performance through the COVID-19 pandemic and prior downturns;
- The business has an opportunity to benefit significantly from independent ownership, given the ability to accelerate its long-term growth profile through a combination of organic growth in a specialist sector, ambitious plans to recruit new specialist brokers and execute selective incremental bolt-on M&A over time; and
- The underlying insurance market is forecast to continue growing in line with GDP, with potential additional upside for specialty insurers, further supported by short-term rate hardening.
Luigi Sbrozzi, partner of Cinven, said: “Cinven is delighted to be making this investment in Miller alongside GIC. Miller is a highly attractive, resilient specialist insurance business with strong long-term growth opportunities across all of its segments and a history of consistent growth through various economic cycles. We see opportunities both organically, by recruiting new specialist brokers, and through incremental M&A over time. Miller also offers a scalable platform, particularly internationally, with associated benefits for clients as the business develops and expands over the long-term. We believe that independent ownership is the right model to really accelerate the company’s growth.”
Yong Cheen Choo, chief investment officer (CIO) of Private Equity at GIC, commented: “Miller is one of the top and most established wholesale brokers with highly respected franchises in areas such as marine & energy, sports & entertainment, and cargo. We are pleased to partner with Cinven and look forward to supporting Greg Collins and his team to seize future expansion opportunities for Miller. As a long-term investor, we are confident in the growth potential of the specialty insurance sector, and of Miller within it.”
Greg Collins, chief executive officer of Miller, added: “We are very pleased to be partnering with Cinven and GIC, whose knowledge and insurance investment expertise will enormously support our business as we enter this important next phase of growth. We are excited about bringing together our combined expertise to bolster our best in class client service and solutions and strengthen Miller’s position in our core activities. This includes making incremental targeted, strategic investments as we look to realise our ambition of becoming the leading independent specialist (re)insurance broking firm. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank WTW for their support over the last five years.”
Barclays, Clifford Chance, Bain, PwC, Deloitte, Marsh, and FTI Consulting acted as advisors to Cinven and GIC. While Goldman Sachs International, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Addleshaw Goddard LLP and Jamieson Corporate Financial LLP acted as advisors to the sellers.