Canadian PE firm Onex acquires US insurance broker USI for $2.3 bn

Canada's largest publicly-traded private equity firm Onex Corp yesterday struck a  deal to buy one of the largest US insurance brokers USI Insurance Services LLC from investment banking giant Goldman Sachs' private equity arm for approximately $2.3 billion.

New York-based USI, founded in 1994, is an affiliate of Goldman Sachs and one of the 10 largest insurance brokers in the US. It has approximately 100 offices across the US employing over 3,300 people. It is also the world's 13th largest insurance broker.

USI's diversified product mix includes employee benefits, property and casualty, personal risk and retirement consulting.

Onex managing director Robert Le Blanc said, in a statement, ''USI has established a strong national insurance brokerage with a very impressive management team led by Mike Sicard. The company is well positioned to continue to grow both organically and by building on its track record of successful acquisitions.''

Goldman Sachs had bought USI in 2007 for approximately $1 billion. There has been media speculation since September that Goldman Sachs was seeking to sell the firm.

Goldman Sachs Capital Partners managing director Sumit Rajpal said in a statement, ''Since our take-private in 2007, USI has successfully integrated operations and developed a common operating platform with industry-leading margins, differentiated acquisition capabilities, and a strong platform for organic growth," Rajpal said