Analysis undertaken by The Insurer shows the extent of the support provided by PE capital to Lloyd’s businesses, with roughly one out of every four insurers operating at One Lime Street having backing from PE in one form or another.
Apollo Global, for example, is the effective owner of Aspen Syndicate 4711 since 2019 through its acquisition of Aspen Group for $2.6bn at 1x book value.
With Apollo’s ownership of Aspen now in its fifth year, it is expected the group will explore an IPO for the insurer in H1 2024 after undertaking a major turnaround of the business. It is also quite possible Apollo will follow the blueprint it undertook with fellow Lloyd’s insurer Brit Insurance in listing, creating liquidity and setting a market price before securing a trade sale (in Brit’s case Fairfax Financial).
Meanwhile, Centerbridge and Gallatin Point have also been assessing their own exit options from Canopius, having acquired the firm in a $952mn buyout from Japan's Sompo Holdings in March 2018.
The group explored a London Stock Exchange listing in 2021, advised by Barclays and Goldman Sachs, although the process did not come to fruition.
Following significant leadership and organisational changes – including the promotion of Neil Robertson to group CEO in January 2022, replacing long-standing leader Michael Watson – it is expected Canopius’ PE backers may also explore an H1 2024 IPO.
Alternatively, they may pursue a sale to Korean powerhouse insurer Samsung Fire & Marine, which has first option having joined Centerbridge and Gallatin Point in the ownership consortium as part of a $150mn buy-in in 2019.
Stone Point also looms large at Lloyd’s as the backer of Atrium, holding an 80 percent stake in the insurer after a share-swap transaction with Enstar in August 2020. It had previously held a minority position of 36 percent.
Meanwhile, Blackstone has also carved a place for itself at Lloyd’s, having joined Fairfax in a $500mn investment in Ki – Brit’s algorithmically-driven follow-only platform – ahead of its launch in 2021. Last year, protracted discussions between Blackstone and Canadian pension fund CPP Investments to acquire Lloyd’s/Bermuda business Ascot broke down.
Outside the major PE backers at Lloyd’s, there is a second group of PE houses taking minority positions or focusing on newer or smaller-scale insurers.
Four of these correspond to transactions taking place in H2 2020.
These include Bain Capital’s strategic partnership with Beat Syndicate 4242, Alchemy Partners’ £80mn investment in Blenheim’s Syndicate 5886 through parent White Bear, Aquiline’s repositioned ownership of ERS as IQUW, and JC Flowers’ partnership with Pelican Ventures for the acquisition of Ariel Re from Argo in November 2020.
For 2021, the list includes JC Flowers and Oakhill Capital Partners partnering for the launch of new Lloyd’s insurer Inigo, CVC’s acquisition of RiverStone, Golden Gate Capital’s backing of newly launched Mosaic, and Alchemy Partners’ investment in Lloyd’s insurer Apollo.
Over the last two years, PE involvement at Lloyd’s has been reflected on the acquisition of Volante and launch of Flux by PE-backed Acrisure, the strategic investment from Apiary Capital in Carbon, and the emergence of Culpeper Capital Partners, which bought a minority stake in Mosaic from founding investor Golden Gate Capital.
Although Lloyd’s no longer publishes its breakdown of capital providers, (re)insurers make up by far the largest constituent in contrast to PE/investors and private individuals. In 2020 – the last time it published its breakdown – it said “worldwide non-insurance” investors (excluding Lloyd’s Names) made up 8.3 percent of the market’s capacity providers. This may have since nudged up considering the PE buys since then.
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