Willis Advances Global Strategy With Acquisition
of Employee Benefits Leader Max Matthiessen
London, UK, May 27, 2014 – Willis Group Holdings plc (NYSE: WSH), the global
risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker, announced today that it will acquire a
controlling stake of approximately 75% in Max Matthiessen, a leading employee
benefits adviser in Sweden, for $205 million.
The move underlines Willis’ commitment to grow its global Human Capital and
Benefits practice in the medium term, and reflects its strategy of driving growth
through the acquisition of focused, sophisticated businesses with strong franchises
and distinctive skills.
The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, complements and
strengthens Willis’ existing operations in Sweden. The increased revenue will make
the combined business the biggest risk adviser and broker in the Nordic region and
the largest international adviser in Sweden.
Max Matthiessen is one of Sweden’s leading independent advisers in retirement
savings, health plans and personal insurance. The Company, with around 420
employees in 23 locations across Sweden, generated in 2013 net revenues of 805
million Swedish Kronor, or approximately $122 million. In 2013, the Company’s
adjusted EBITDA was 180 million Swedish Kronor, or approximately $27.2 million,
and net income to common shareholders was 115 million Swedish Kronor, or
approximately $17.4 million.
Willis Sweden and Max Matthiessen have enjoyed a strategic partnership since
2009. Max Matthiessen will continue to benefit from Willis’ global reach and
experience, while Willis will continue to draw on Max Matthiessen’s deep product
expertise in employee benefits within and beyond Sweden. The Max Matthiessen
brand and culture will be retained and will run alongside Willis Sweden.
Max Matthiessen employees currently own 50% of the Company, while the remaining
50% is held by Altor Fund III. Under the terms of the agreement, Willis will invest
1.357 billion Swedish Kronor – or $205 million – to acquire approximately 75% of the
Company, with employees retaining a stake of approximately 25%.
Dominic Casserley, CEO of the Willis Group, said: “Willis is committed to growing in
areas of opportunity for market leadership and where we can develop specialised
capabilities locally and globally. Max Matthiessen fits that model perfectly. It sustains
our investment in the Human Capital and Benefits space, where we are creating
leading specialised capabilities. We are confident that the combination of Willis and
Max Matthiessen can fuel growth in both Sweden and beyond.”
Casserley continued: “Max Matthiessen is a well-run business with a long history and
an impressive list of loyal clients. We will be retaining the brand, the skills and the
culture, and I look forward to welcoming more than 400 new colleagues into the Willis
Tim Wright, CEO of Willis International, and leader of the global Human Capital and
Benefits practice, said: “This is an important deal that reflects our commitment to
employee benefits and our confidence in the Nordic region. Max Matthiessen serves
markets where we see solid growth fundamentals underpinned by changing
demographics and increasing demand for retirement and health solutions. We also
see a unique opportunity to share Max Matthiessen’s best-in-class expertise across
our global Human Capital and Benefits business.”
Christoffer Folkebo, CEO of Max Matthiessen, said: “We are very happy to become a
part of the Willis Group. The combined business will benefit both sides and we are
looking forward to the ability of offering our customers a broader product portfolio.
Max Matthiessen will operate under the same brand as before, with the same
organisation, but with Willis’ international knowledge and experience enabling us to
expand even further.”
Johan Forsgård, CEO of Willis Sweden, said: “Willis is well-established throughout
the region and this move is a boost to our footprint, making us the international
frontrunner in both Sweden and the Nordics. There is a lot of scope for growth, and
this expansion supports our group-wide drive to bring a wider range of Willis’
solutions to our clients. Willis Sweden and Max Matthiessen have been working
together for the past five years, and we look forward to building on that successful
relationship. We are proud and excited to be joining forces to bring the best of both
organisations here in Sweden to all of our clients.”
Willis Capital Markets & Advisory acted as financial adviser and Vinge acted as legal
counsel to Willis Group.
Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance
broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more
than 18,000 employees in over 400 offices.
Willis Sweden has 140 employees in four offices and is headquartered in Stockholm.
Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading
products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts
rank among the world’s leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.
About Max Matthiessen
Max Matthiessen was founded in 1889. Since then it has become a leading
independent adviser in personal insurance, health plans and retirement savings. Max
Matthiessen operates with around 420 employees at 23 locations in Sweden. Its
advisers, administrators and specialists have experience helping employers and
individuals with procurement, analysis, packaging, advisory and administration of the
best saving and insurance solutions in the market. In 2013 the gross turnover of Max
Matthiessen exceeded 1,000 million Swedish Kronors. Find out more at
# # #