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Gallagher scoops up Strathearn from AUB (updated)

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AUB Group (formerly Austbrokers Holdings) has sold its shareholding in major broker Strathearn to Arthur J Gallagher.

The surprise this morning stemmed from “opportunistic timing and favourable circumstances”, according to AUB CEO and MD Mark Searles.

“But in circumstances where optimisation of our portfolio can be achieved, it is in everyone’s interests to pursue such opportunities.”

He says the sale, while not a normal move for the group, “allowed us to immediately improve the use of capital by the group”.

“While important over the years, Strathearn’s portfolio is only one part of our overall offering.

“Our unique ‘owner-driver’ partnership model has resulted in only a handful of divestments in our entire 30-year history.”

The move follows the group’s successful acquisition earlier this week of major New Zealand broker Runacres and Associates.

Mr Searles says the acquisition and divestment are “evidence [of] AUB Group’s focus towards ensuring the delivery of strong returns for shareholders.

“Providing a broad spectrum of risk management, advice and solutions for clients is a key focus for AUB Group, and corporate insurance broking will still remain a part of this DNA going forward.”

Founded in Perth in 1993 by Ron Fuller, Ted Hicks and Ian Winter, Perth-based Strathearn has more than 75 employees. Its focus is on large private and corporate businesses.

Gallagher MD Australia and New Zealand Steve Lockwood says Strathearn CEO Paul Harvey and his team will continue to operate out of current locations in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide and over the next 12 months will integrate with Gallagher.