Canadian PE firm Onex to buy US insurance brokerage USI for $2.3 bn

Canadian-listed private equity firm Onex today struck a deal to buy USI, a US-based insurance brokerage firm, from Goldman Sachs for $2.3 billion.

The deal includes about $1.6 billion debt.

Goldman's merchant banking unit had acquired USI in 2007 for about $993 million.

Toronto-based Onex, with $14 billion in assets under management, will finance the deal with about $700 million in equity.

Briarcliff Manor, New York-based USI is a leader in the insurance brokerage market with a diversified mix of property and casualty, employee benefits and retirement consulting.

Founded in 1994, USI is the 9th largest insurance broker in the US and the 13th largest in the world. It has more than 3,300 employees in approximately 100 offices across the US.

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

''Our world-class brokers and investment in differentiating client solutions have allowed us to continually strengthen our market position by providing our clients with a level of value that is unparalleled in the middle-market,'' said Mike Sicard, CEO of USI.