Aston Lark deal gives broker firepower for larger acquisitions

Peter Blanc

The acquisition of Aston Lark by Goldman Sachs could enable the broker to seek out larger acquisition targets, the company's CEO Peter Blanc said.

The deal, which closed late on Friday, sees the global investment banking firm take former investor Bowmark Capital’s stake in the business.

Speaking to Post about the deal, Blanc, pictured, said: “What it might do is it maybe makes us lift our eyes up to the horizon and bit more and be able to look to some larger opportunities that may not have been possible beforehand.

“Quality will always be the main criteria that we work on here. We only want to buy good quality businesses that will be a good cultural fit with Aston Lark. But what we can do now is, if we find a good quality business that is a good cultural fit that is also somewhat larger then we have now got the firepower to go and do it.”

The broker will continue to focus on the UK and Irish markets, though Blanc declined to rule out international expansion in the future.

He added: “We are focusing initially on the UK and Ireland. We are very keen to continue expanding our Irish operation, following the acquisition of Robertson Low, we’d now like to carry on going out there. We are looking for further deals in the UK market. But those are the only two areas at the moment. We are not planning international expansion at this stage, although we wouldn’t rule it out for later.”

Blanc remained tight-lipped on the value of the deal.

“Suffice to say we are very happy with it. Personally, I’m a buyer and a seller. I’m rolling my investment into the new company. It’s a sensible price for it and a very good deal,” he said.

Sister title Insurance Age has pegged Goldman Sachs’ funding at around £320m.

Michele Titi-Cappelli, head of financial services investing, Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, said: “We have been impressed by what Peter Blanc and the Aston Lark team have achieved, and we are excited to be supporting the company’s growth ambitions both organically and via acquisitions”.

Julian Masters, Bowmark partner, added: “We have greatly enjoyed working with Peter and his team to deliver on the company’s growth ambitions.  Thanks to its continuous focus on innovation and excellence, and its ability to identify, acquire and successfully integrate complementary businesses, we believe Aston Lark is well-positioned to continue its strong track record of growth.”

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