Axa nears completion of SBJ Group acquisition

Acquisitive insurer Axa has almost completed the full acquisition of SBJ Group, with more than 90 per cent of shareholders accepting its offer.

The deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, continues the French insurer’s foray into financial services distribution. It purchased IFA business Thinc in 2006 and added PIFC Consulting to its portfolio of intermediaries last summer.

Axa, whose global strategy is to become equal part distributor and product manufacturer in all the markets in which it operates, says the deal will give it increased scale, a wider national presence and access to new opportunities.

SBJ is made up of four principal business units. SBJ Benefit Consultants includes its online pension solution Orbit Benefits. SBJ UK is a major insurance broker and risk management consultant focused on the mid-corporate market. SBJ Limited is a leading Lloyd’s broker providing access for its international network of long-standing intermediary partners into the London insurance market. Helix UK provides claims and recovery services to the insurance industry.

A spokesman for Axa says there are currently no plans to merge the corporate advice intermediaries it has acquired, or change the trading name of SBJ, although these issues will undoubtedly be reviewed at some time in the future.

Axa says these newly acquired businesses bring a new dimension to its operations and will continue to operate independently of Axa’s insurance company interests, as has been the case with Thinc and PIFC Consulting.

Nicolas Moreau, chief executive of Axa UK says:
’This signals an exciting opportunity offering real benefits for both Axa UK and SBJ and I am confident that SBJ’s shareholders will respond positively to our offer. Axa UK is firmly committed to expanding its presence and expertise in advisory services and in broking and SBJ will be joining a company with real ambition in these areas.’

George Boden, chief executive of SBJ says: ‘SBJ has grown substantially in both business and staff over the last five years and we foresee a period of further sustained growth as part of Axa who will provide firm support for our business plans.’