Ardonagh and Markerstudy agree mega-merger

Deal to create a major new entity in the UK insurance market

Ardonagh and Markerstudy agree mega-merger

Insurance News

By Mia Wallace

The Ardonagh Group (Ardonagh) and Markerstudy Group (Markerstudy) have today announced the agreement of a merger between Markerstudy and Atlanta Group (Atlanta) - Ardonagh’s personal lines broking business. The transaction, which is subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals, values Atlanta at £1.2 billion.

In a Press release, it was revealed that the combined business – which will create a major new player in the UK insurance market – will offer a broad variety of insurance products to millions of consumers, including in home and motor insurance. The joined-up business will employ approximately 7,300 people across the UK and transact over £3 billion in annual gross written premium (GWP).

 The merger, which will be funded by a new investment led by Pollen Street Capital and Bain Capital Special Situations, will see Ardonagh and its related parties receive a combination of cash and a substantial minority equity stake in the combined business, in addition to two seats on the board of directors of the combined business.

Under the terms of the deal, top Atlanta executives including Ian Donaldson, Craig Ball and Emma Rawlinson will join the Markerstudy management team as senior executives of the combined group.

Commenting on the merger, Ian Donaldson, CEO of Ardonagh Retail, said: "The coming together of well-known insurance brands and talent from across Atlanta and Markerstudy creates a major new player in the UK insurance industry and is the latest chapter in our phenomenal growth story.

“With the support and backing of the Ardonagh Group, Atlanta has evolved from the van broker Autonet, into a major multi-product, multi-brand insurance challenger in the UK. This transaction is a huge testament to our people and we look forward to working with Kevin and his team to continue innovating and providing great value to our customers.”

Comprising over 2,100 colleagues across 12 locations, Atlanta currently manages c.£1 billion of GWP on behalf of 2.6 million customers and distributes a broad suite of products through household insurance brands including Swinton, Autonet and Carole Nash. Meanwhile, Markerstudy has upwards of 5,200 colleagues across 19 sites and reported GWP of £2 billion in 2022.

In the Press release accompanying the news, it was revealed that the combined group will bring together highly complementary capabilities across pricing, underwriting and distribution – and look to deliver an enhanced proposition for millions of new and existing customers.

Commenting on the deal, Kevin Spencer, Markerstudy Group CEO, said: “As existing business partners, we have worked closely with Atlanta for a long time, and so we know first-hand just how exceptional the business and its people are. There are few deals in the market with the potential to be truly transformational for all parties concerned and a combination with Atlanta has been a long-term ambition of ours.”

Spencer also highlighted the strong alignment between Atlanta and Markerstudy’s business models, values and ambitions and said: “I’ve never been more excited for the future.” 

David Ross, CEO of The Ardonagh Group, noted that the Ardonagh strategy has always centred on finding and empowering strong management teams and backing their ambitions, “with a clear and relentless focus on equity value creation”. He said the combination with Markerstudy is an important step in Atlanta’s journey, and offers great opportunities for its customers and people.

He added: “We are very proud of what the Atlanta team have achieved since joining our group in 2017 and look forward to continuing to work with Kevin, Ian and our new partners at Pollen Street to create a major new player in the UK insurance market.”

Michael England, partner at Pollen Street, also commented on the deal and said: “We are thrilled to support this merger. Under Ian’s leadership Atlanta has expanded through organic growth initiatives and targeted M&A into a high quality distribution platform. Similarly Markerstudy has developed rapidly, growing strongly since we invested in 2021. In combining the two businesses we have an exceptional opportunity to support this major new platform.”

What are your thoughts on this story? Feel free to share them in the comment box below.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!