Flynn O’Driscoll Wins Award in The Finance Dublin Deals of the Year Awards 202126 May, 2021
• Flynn O’Driscoll has won won Finance Dublin’s 2021 Financial Services Award in the Financing & Acquisition category for advising Chill Insurance & Ivernia Insurance on their acquisition by Livingbridge Private Equity.
• Flynn O’Driscoll’s win arises from its work on major deals in the corporate sector
The winning deal in relation to which Flynn O’Driscoll advised is:
Financial Services Ireland & International Financial Services – Ireland: Financing & Acquisition
Livingbridge investment to drive expansion for Chill Insurance
The winner of the Financial Services Financing & Acquisition Deal of the Year is the acquisition of Chill Insurance & Ivernia Insurance by Livingbridge. The transaction sees UK private equity firm Livingbridge take a majority stake in the Chill Insurance corporate group which includes online insurance broker Chill Insurance, its captive managing general agent (MGA) Ivernia Insurance and credit intermediary Chill Money.
The three companies now make up the Three Rock Group which under the guidance of Livingbridge and Chill’s management team, led by CEO Michael McLaughlin, plan to broaden its personal lines business, expand its financial services products and accelerate growth through M&A in the coming years. Livingbridge has extensive experience in the insurance sector through its investment in and development of the UK’s Kingsbridge Risk Solutions, an insurance broker for contractors and corporates, and Jensten Group which is comprised of online wholesaler Policyfast, specialist insurance underwriters City Underwriters and franchise operation Coversure. While Livingbridge exited its investment in Kingsbridge in 2014, it invested in Jensten Group in 2018. It has since rebranded the group (it was previously known as Coversure Insurance Services Group) and completed two bolt-on acquisitions to date.
Headquartered in Dublin where it employs almost 250 staff, Chill Insurance was founded in 2006 by brothers Padraig and Seamus Lynch and has subsequently grown into the largest independent personal lines insurance broker in Ireland with over 200,000 policyholders, representing a 6% market share. The transaction sees the Lynch brothers along with senior management retaining a minority stake in the business.
Chill Insurance’s rapid organic growth has been complemented by tactical M&A; in 2019 it completed its first acquisition of personal lines insurer Arran Insurances. Chill has invested heavily in its IT infrastructure as it aims to grow its share of the Irish personal lines insurance market. The broker has a panel of 14 major insurance carriers allowing it offer a wide range of products through its telephone and online distribution channel. Chill Money offers personal loans and credit card services as a sales agent of Leitrim-based Avantcard DAC.
On the financing of the transaction Bank of Ireland acted as sole Super Senior RCF and First Out Term lender. Third party financing was provided by Legal & General’s private credit manager Pemberton Asset Management, its first deal in Ireland.
“Chill represents a fantastic opportunity to back a multi-product insurance provider which is uniquely positioned to grow in a large and attractive market”, said Xavier Woodward, partner, Livingbridge.“Michael and the management team have all the ingredients we look for in an investee company and we look forward to working with them on accelerating the growth of the business through the M&A strategy over the coming years.”
We are excited by the prospect of partnering with Livingbridge on the next stage in our growth journey”, said Michael McLaughlin, CEO at Chill. “We have been impressed by their successful track record in scaling insurance businesses and their expertise will be invaluable as we continue to widen our reach in the personal lines sector, expand our portfolio of complementary financial services products and build our M&A capability.”
Commenting on the transaction, Alan O’Driscoll, partner, Flynn O’Driscoll, advisors to shareholders of Chill and Ivernia said: “The transaction required a significant amount of planning and
organisation over many months, with a team of existing long-term and new advisors. The work that Chill’s senior leadership and the external advisory teams did over these months, put the company in a very strong position to complete the transaction with Livingbridge as the preferred bidder, in a very short timeframe”.
William Fry, led by partners Máire O’Neill and Stephen Keogh, advised Chill’s management team on the deal and said: “William Fry was delighted to support and advise the management team of Chill Insurance on the Livingbridge transaction. The deal is designed to establish a robust digital marketing engine for Chill Insurance to enhance organic customer acquisition and drive growth through M&A. Completion of the deal in a very short time-frame during the height of the COVID-19 crisis was challenging but the collaborative approach taken by all parties demonstrated a mutual commitment to position the business to benefit from future opportunities.” Dave Mountjoy, Director, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking said: “Bank of Ireland as sole arranger of first out and super senior facilities was delighted to support Livingbridge in its investment into Ireland’s largest independent personal lines insurance broker, Chill Insurance. The successful transaction and future partnership with Livingbridge provides Chill Insurance’s market leading management team with a strong platform for the next phase of their ambitious growth plans.”
Flynn O’Driscoll acted for Chill Insurance and Ivernia Insurance shareholders on the transaction. Other sell-side advisors include KBW, LEK, KPMG, Capnua & Twomey Moran. Legal advisers for Livingbridge were A&L Goodbody and Travers Smith. Other buy side advisors on the deal include Deloitte, Oliver Wyman, PwC, and Intechnica. The Chill Insurance management team were advised by William Fry. Hogan Lovells and Arthur Cox advised Pemberton. Bank of Ireland acted as sole Super Senior RCF and First Out Term lender.