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CDPQ, KKR to acquire US-based insurance broker USI for $4.3bn

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and KKR have agreed to jointly acquire American insurance broker USI Insurance Services from Onex and its affiliates for $4.3bn.

CDPQ is a Canadian pension fund, and KKR is a US-based global private equity company.

The partners will have equal ownership in the insurance broker which operates 140 offices across the US, employing over 4,400 professionals.

USI, headquartered in Valhalla, New York offers property and casualty, personal risk, employee benefits and retirement solutions.

CDPQ private equity direct investments co-head Christian Puscasiu said that the partners will leverage their respective expertise in the sector to help USI’s management in its strategic plan for growth in the long-term.

Puscasiu added: “Our partnership was established to implement both firms’ patient, disciplined and collaborative investment approach. 

“USI operates in a resilient sector characterized by stable, long-term returns and serves small and medium-sized businesses, which are the cornerstone of the US economy.”

In 2012, the Toronto-based equity firm Onex had acquired USI for $2.3bn.

USI chairman and CEO Michael Sicard said that the company is committed to continue and accelerate its growth and investment by leveraging and innovating its USI One Advantage.

According to KKR financial services investing practice head Tagar Olson, USI is well placed to handle the risk management, insurance and employee benefits-related requirements of small and medium-sized business owners.

Olson added: “Our successful experience in the insurance and benefits brokerage industry, coupled with the impressive track record of Mike Sicard and the USI management team, give us confidence in our ability to generate compelling returns while growing the business over the long term.”

The deal is expected to be closed by the end of the second quarter following meeting of customary conditions including regulatory approval.

In September 2016, USI Insurance Services had acquired Johnson & Bryan, an Atlanta, Georgia-based retail property-casualty and employee benefits insurance broker.

Image: CDPQ and KKR partner to buy USI from Onex. Photo: courtesy of adamr/