Arch Insurance extends acquisitions spree

Arch Insurance has agreed a deal for Axiom Underwriting, adding to a spate of acquisitions that has included Ardonagh and Obelisk since the new year. Axiom had gross written premiums of £20m in 2018 and will join the Arch UK Regional Division, specialising in commercial property, casualty, motor, professional liability, personal accident and travel. The takeover sees 20 employees transfer to Arch’s books.

Star Legal acquires SMHT Solicitors

Star Legal has acquired SMHT Solicitors in a deal that sees the Bristol firm expand into the West Midlands. The deal adds offices in Aldridge and Walsall to Star Solicitors’ 17 other offices.

Pro Global acquires VibeMM

Global consultancy Pro Global has entered the UK distribution market with the acquisition of MGA incubator platform VibeMM. The deal will see VibeMM rebranded as Pro MGA Solutions, which will become Pro’s offering in the market in the UK and US.

Bolton Wanderers saved from brink of administration

Former Watford FC owner Laurence Bassini has agreed to buy Bolton Wanderers FC, pulling it back from the brink of administration. The club has said “significant funds” will be made available to pay wages and creditors. Bolton have lost five of their past six games and are close to relegation from the Championship. Players recently staged a 48-hour strike after receiving their wages late for the second month in a row.

Pension fund USSL seals £500m deal for KCOM

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USSL), one of Britain’s biggest pension funds, has agreed to buy Hull-based telecoms company KCOM in a deal worth £504m. The news has seen the struggling firm’s share price jump by about a third to 97p. KCOM provides voice and internet-based services to 140,000 customers and businesses in Hull, the only part of the UK where the market leader BT doesn’t have a presence.

CMA blocks Asda-Sainsbury’s merger

Sainsbury’s and Asda’s proposed merger has been blocked by the Competition and Markets Authority. In a strongly-worded report, the CMA ruled that the deal would have led to higher prices, lower quality, a worse range on the shelves, and a poorer overall shopping experience. In particular, the CMA points to the likelihood of price increases for motorists at over 125 locations where the businesses’ petrol stations are located close together.

Calvin Capital to acquire Lowri Beck

Calvin Capital has agreed to acquire Lowri Beck, a provider of meter installation and data collection services to the UK energy market. The deal will see the creation of an end-to-end offering comprising the installation, servicing, managing and funding of domestic metering assets. Furthermore, it establishes a platform for the future funding and management of a wider range of digital energy assets, such as battery storage and EV charging infrastructure. Lowri Beck reported revenue £71.5m in 2017. It installs and exchanges over 300,000 meters each year, collects data on another five million and is involved in the nationwide smart meter rollout.

Sanlam UK acquires Blackett Walker

Sanlam UK has acquired financial planning and employee benefits firm Blackett Walker. Based in Newcastle, Blackett Walker consists of five financial advisers serving more than 1,000 clients. All support staff will be retained with the takeover.

L-Acoustics to buy majority stake in DeltaLive UK

L-Acoustics has agreed to buy a majority stake in DeltaLive UK, a specialist in audiovisual services and rental, to coincide with the recent sale of DeltaLive’s Dubai-based operations Delta Sound to PRG. Delta Live UK will work on the development of L-Acoustic’s private, lifestyle and sound art sector business.

Arch Insurance seals deal for Obelisk

Arch Insurance has completed a deal for Obelisk Underwriting, a specialist agency with offices in Leicester and Sheffield. Obelisk will join the recently formed Arch UK Regional Division, adding around £5m of gross written premiums to its books.