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AUB acquires MGA Whittles, takes stake in BizCover

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AUB Group will take full ownership of MGA Whittles, one of Australia’s largest insurance brokers, in a $140 million deal, and has also paid $132 million for a 40% stake in online distribution platform BizCover.

Adelaide-based MGA Whittles will continue to operate under its existing management team, with John George remaining Executive Chairman.

“MGA is a fantastic business,” CEO Mike Emmett said today. “The acquisition places MGA at the heart of Austbrokers and enables the next phase of our growth.”

As reported in a Breaking News bulletin early this morning, AUB will pay $29 million in cash and issue equity at a price of $12.64 per share to acquire the 50.1% of MGA that it doesn’t already own, as well as 100% of strata specialist Whittles.

“Selling the MGA Whittles Group in exchange for a significant stake in AUB will allow us to fully leverage our long-term partnership to accelerate the growth of the MGA Whittles group for the benefit of all stakeholders,” Mr George said.

MGA was formed in 1975 and has grown to a business with more than 40 offices. AUB, which has held an investment in the firm since 1996, says the deal is expected to be completed by the end of March.

BizCover was formed 11 years ago, and AUB says it is a highly profitable and rapidly growing business that has targeted micro and smaller commercial clients that complement the Austbrokers SME client base.

“In addition, this strategic relationship will enable Austbrokers members to benefit from BizCover’s exceptional technology and their innovative culture,” Mr Emmett said.

BizCover co-founder Michael Gottlieb will continue as MD, with co-founder Brad Miller and other key leaders also remaining in current roles.

The total acquisition consideration is $132 million, plus a working capital adjustment estimated at $3 million.

AUB Group last year abandoned a planned $150-200 million acquisition of Coverforce Holdings after failing to receive key documents as court action embroiled the target company’s shareholders.

Mr Emmett told the AGM in November that acquisitions to complement the group’s core insurance operations in Australia and New Zealand would be a focus this financial year.