Onex Agrees to Buy USI From Goldman Fund for $2.3 Billion

Onex Corp. (OCX), Canada’s largest publicly traded buyout firm, agreed to buy USI Insurance Services LLC from a fund run by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) in a transaction valued at $2.3 billion.

The deal includes a $700 million equity investment by Onex Partners III fund, the Toronto-based company said today in a statement. Employees of the Briarcliff Manor, New York-based insurance broker will remain “significant” investors in USI, which has about 100 offices in the U.S.

Private-equity firms are buying insurance-services companies for their steady cash flow and low capital needs. KKR & Co. agreed on Nov. 23 to purchase brokerage Alliant Insurance Services Inc. from Blackstone Group LP for an undisclosed amount. Last month, a group led by CVC Capital Partners Ltd. said it would acquire insurance-claim adjuster Cunningham Lindsey Group Ltd. in a deal valuing the company at as much as $1 billion including debt.

USI “is well positioned to continue to grow both organically and by building on its track record of successful acquisitions,” Robert Le Blanc, a managing director at Onex, said today in the statement. USI, which has 3,300 employees, is the ninth-largest insurance broker in the U.S., according to its website.

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Pedestrians pass in front of 200 West Street, which houses the headquarters of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., in New York. Close

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Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Pedestrians pass in front of 200 West Street, which houses the headquarters of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., in New York.

The buyout unit of New York-based Goldman Sachs acquired USI in 2007 in a deal valued at $1.4 billion.

Morgan Stanley advised Onex, and Kaye Scholer LLP provided legal advice. GS Capital Partners received financial advice from RBC Capital Markets LLC, and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal counsel. The companies expect the deal to close by the end of the year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sean B. Pasternak in Toronto at spasternak@bloomberg.net; Devin Banerjee in New York at dbanerjee2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net; Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

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