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Harrison Drury advises County Group on sale

Woman signing a form at her deskHarrison Drury has advised on a deal which has seen Crewe-based insurance business County Group sold to Global Risk Partners (GRP).

GRP, the specialist investment vehicle for brokers and managing general agents, has bought the County Group for an undisclosed sum, as the next major step in executing the group’s UK regional hub strategy.

The County Group, founded by CEO Dave Clapp, in 2003, is one of the UK’s top 25 brokers. The company writes SME and personal lines insurance and delivered GWP of £72m in 2017. The current management team will stay with the business as it moves to new owners.

Dave said: “With the firepower now available from a business the size and scale of GRP we can accelerate our ambitious plans, something that was becoming more challenging with traditional funding routes.

“Having worked closely with Peter Cullum during the past three years, we are totally bought in to GRP’s strategy and their owner driver philosophy. We have seen how other businesses they have acquired have retained their independence and made significant strides forward as part of a bigger group.”

Harrison Drury’s corporate team acted on behalf of County Group in its negotiations with GRP. Harrison Drury’s team was led by David Filmer with support from Jack Stephenson and Kerry Southworth.

David Filmer, a director in Harrison Drury’s corporate team, said: “This deal is a strategically important addition to GRP’s portfolio of entrepreneurial businesses and means the County Group can release equity and still run the business on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s been a pleasure to advise Dave and the team at County on the acquisition. They now have the opportunity to concentrate on their plans to double over the next five years and they can continue to focus on their local service ethos.”

GRP, established in 2013, acquires business, teams and portfolios that have niche, non commoditised, specialty propositions and strong profitability. It has acquired 25 businesses to date, with 12 acquisitions in 2017.

Executive chairman of GRP, Peter Cullum, said: “Following a transformational year for GRP in 2017, we are marking the new year with an important addition to the group, building our GWP to well over £650m.

“We have high expectations for County as the centerpiece of our North-West hub, and look forward to further rapid growth, bringing benefits to customers, employees and insurer partners alike.”

Mike Bruce, CEO Broking at GRP, added: “We are delighted to welcome Dave and his team to GRP. County is a highly respected and well-known business and will play a key role in achieving our growth plans.”

The acquisition has received regulatory approval and the consideration is undisclosed.

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