Gallagher buys Oval Group

Arthur J. Gallagher is buying The Oval Group for a total around £199 million in cash, in a deal it describes as ‘the beginning, not the end’.

The transaction will see both Oval Healthcare and Oval Financial Services businesses will become part of the UK-based specialist consultancy Arthur J. Gallagher Employee Benefits, led by CEO Tim Johnson.

The combined Arthur J. Gallagher Employee Benefits operation will have fourteen offices and more than 230 employees across the UK, with over 160 people joining and the addition of eight new branch locations including Nottingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Bristol and Lytham St Anne’s.

Johnson says: “This acquisition is a real game-changer for us; by bringing the healthcare, corporate benefits and wealth management businesses into Arthur J. Gallagher Employee Benefits we simultaneously widen our portfolio, extend our geographic reach and significantly increase our scale.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming so many new colleagues and excited at the prospect of marrying our inherent strengths to become a sizeable presence in the UK market. Our strong large client healthcare proposition and breadth of opportunities, combined with Oval’s robust and efficient servicing mechanisms for smaller schemes, should prove a winning combination for organic growth in the UK medical market. At the same time, the quality and expertise of their corporate benefits and wealth management consultants provide the perfect complement to our own in house expertise but across a much wider distribution network.

”This is a big deal but it is not going to be the last. This is the beginning, not the end.

“There are no planned synergies – we buy businesses to hold them, not to get rid of support staff.”

Oval group CEO Peter Blanc says: “I’m delighted to have been able to bring our superb financial services and healthcare teams into the Arthur J. Gallagher family, alongside the insurance broking business, where they offer not only complementary but transformational skills and expertise to a business now primed to grow at pace.”