CPPIB to buy London-based Ascot Underwriting for $1.1 bn

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) yesterday struck a deal to buy Ascot Underwriting Ltd (Ascot), American International Group's Lloyd's of London platform, in a deal valued at about $1.1 billion.

The transaction involves the acquisition of Ascot and Ascot Corporate Name Ltd., as a capital provider for Syndicate 1414 at Lloyd's.

Upon closing, Ascot will continue to operate as a stand-alone, independent business governed by its own board of directors and will retain its entire senior management team led by its CEO, Andrew Brooks, and approximately 194 employees,.

Based in London, England, Ascot is a Lloyd's of London syndicate and a global specialty insurance underwriter.

Ascot operates globally having multiple lines of businesses including property, energy, cargo, terrorism and political risk, marine hull and liability, casualty, renewable energy, excess of loss, reinsurance, and dpecie and fine art.

Lloyd's is the oldest and most prominent marketplace for specialty risk. CPPIB said that it expects to pursue mutually beneficial business opportunities with AIG through Ascot moving forward as we seek to build on the collaborative relationship developed through this transaction.

''This acquisition represents another important step in our strategy to achieve scale in targeted sub-sectors within financial services through long-term platform investments. We have studied the global property and casualty insurance sector for several years and specifically identified Ascot as an ideal platform through which CPPIB can access diverse global insurance premiums at scale,'' said Ryan Selwood, managing director, head of direct private equity at CPPIB.

''Ascot's proven track record of superior underwriting performance through pricing cycles, standing in the Lloyd's specialist insurance market and highly experienced management team, provides CPPIB with turn-key access to an asset class that is well-suited to our long-term horizon,'' he added.

With C$287.3 billion in funds, Toronto-based CPPIB is a professional investment management comapny that invests the funds not needed by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to pay current benefits on behalf of 19 million contributors and beneficiaries.

It also has offices in Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, New York City and São Paulo.