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Ares Management Corporation Completes Largest-Ever Unitranche Financing Transaction

June 23, 2020, 09:05 AM
Filed Under: Insurance

Ares Management Corporation  announced that it is serving as the lead arranger for a £1.875 billion financing commitment to The Ardonagh Group (“Ardonagh”), the U.K.’s largest independent insurance broker, through Ares’ global direct lending platform. Ardonagh is majority owned by HPS Investment Partners ("HPS") and Madison Dearborn Partners. In addition to direct lending funds managed by Ares, other significant lenders include Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (“CDPQ”), HPS and KKR.

The financing is comprised of a £1.575 billion unitranche loan and a £300 million committed capital expenditures facility. The combined £1.875 billion commitment represents the largest ever unitranche financing. The financing will be part of the company’s global refinancing to support its business expansion plans.

Established in 2017, The Ardonagh Group grew significantly through a series of acquisitions in 2018 that brings together the leading insurance brokerage brands in the U.K. including Autonet, Bishopsgate, Carole Nash, Geo Underwriting, Price Forbes, Swinton, Towergate and URIS. With more than 100 office locations and a workforce of over 6,000 people, The Ardonagh Group is active across distribution, wholesale, underwriting and services, forming the largest principal diversified and independent broking and underwriting group in the U.K.

“We believe this is the largest ever unitranche financing transaction globally, which is a testament to the quality of The Ardonagh Group, our long-standing relationships with HPS Investment Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners and the advantages created by our global and scaled platform,” said Blair Jacobson, Partner and Co-Head of European Credit and Mark Affolter, Partner and Co-Head of U.S. Direct Lending. “We believe there is a significant need in the current market to serve as a partner to companies in need of scaled financial solutions and are excited to support Ardonagh in realizing its growth ambitions.”

“This is a major transaction for the lending group in Europe. It will support Ardonagh’s growth over the coming years,” said Luis Mayans, Partner and Deputy Head, Private Debt at CDPQ. “Over the years, Ardonagh has developed an attractive business model by bringing together specialized insurance brokerages that are leaders in their respective niches, and we're pleased to offer them a financial solution that meets their needs.”

David Ross, CEO of The Ardonagh Group commented: “The substantial commitment from this lending group led by Ares is a vote of confidence in Ardonagh and our management team. The structure of the unitranche facility and additional committed capital expenditures facility leave us well positioned to deliver the next phase of our growth strategy and beyond.”

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