Licent Merger Highlights Alternatives to Small to Medium Broker Takeovers
MarshBerry International facilitates creation of innovative brokerage Licent Group in Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 16, 2023 – MarshBerry International, a leading corporate finance and consulting firm serving brokers in European countries, recently facilitated the restructuring and merger of Licent Group (Licent).
Licent, previously operating as cooperative for independent insurance brokers, knew that the current insurance environment required them to make a major change. For that reason sixteen members of the cooperative, and the underwriting company Licent Assuradeuren, joined forces to merge as co-owners of the new entity. Gilde Equity Management (Gilde), an independent private equity firm rooted in the Netherlands, has also joined as majority shareholder.
The transaction represents an alternative for smaller independent firms that face the pressure of looming takeovers from larger competitors. The new entity immediately becomes a top 25 intermediary company in the Netherlands.
“The current consolidation market sees independent firms losing market share and their competitive edge to much larger companies. The decision to sell is made from necessity, not desire. The Licent merger represents an alternative structure where the selling entrepreneurs become investors and therefore continue to do business, remain entrepreneurs and reap future financial benefits of their work,” said Michel Schaft, MarshBerry International Managing Director. “It empowers smaller companies to compete at a much larger scale, to hold their own in an increasingly complex environment to anyone who isn’t considered a major player.”
MarshBerry International developed the strategic plan for the transaction structure, represented and advised the sellers in their go-to market (including introduction of Gilde to Licent) and deal execution.
“The arrival of investment capital in our industry changed the rules of the game. In order to maintain our growth, it was necessary to review our cooperative structure in order to retain the benefits of doing business together,” said Frans Kemper, Licent Chief Financial Officer. “We deliberately chose this step because we don’t want to undermine the interests of our customers and employees. This can be a good alternative for other intermediary companies that are orienting themselves to the future.”
The owners of the sixteen participating members sold their company and invested part of their proceeds in the new holding company. The joint underwriting company Licent Assuradeuren is also part of the new structure.
“MarshBerry is an innovator in insurance mergers & acquisitions in the U.S. helping to form three leading insurance brokerages, Alera Group, Inc. (2016), Patriot Growth Insurance Services (2019) and Oakbridge Insurance Agency (2020). Each has grown to become one of the Top 100 largest brokers of U.S. business and continue their fast growth trajectories,” said John Wepler, MarshBerry Chairman & CEO. “Our proprietary system focuses on finding the perfect fit not just financially but culturally. We create partnerships focused on people, quality, and continuity. Gilde has the same entrepreneurial and people-oriented culture as Licent, and that compatibility makes this deal appealing to all parties involved.”
The offices will continue to operate under their own name and are organized in five clusters or “hubs,” each managed by a separate board. Hub categorization was based on region and culture.
MarshBerry – Helping Clients Learn, Improve & Realize Value
Founded in 1981 and established a European footprint in 2019, MarshBerry serves the insurance distribution and wealth management industries including insurance agents & brokers, specialty distributors, private equity firms, and wealth management firms. MarshBerry’s industry-specific services help clients build, enhance and sustain value through: Merger & Acquisition Advisory, Debt & Equity Capital Raising (U.S. only), Financial Consulting, Market Intelligence & Benchmarking, Organic Growth Consulting, Connect – Executive Peer Exchange, and FirstChoice – Aggregation. Learn more at www.MarshBerry.com.