Atlanta to buy Be Wiser

Mergers and acquisitions

The Ardonagh Group’s retail platform Atlanta is buying Be Wiser, with 60 staff expected to leave Be Wiser as a result of its recent consultation.

Atlanta has agreed to purchase certain trade and assets of broker Be Wiser, it confirmed today, with 189 staff set to move under the group’s umbrella when the deal closes. 

Be Wiser currently has in the region of 100,000 policyholders across car, van, bike, travel and home insurance. Atlanta’s existing portfolio, which includes brands Swinton, Carole Nash, Marmalade and Autonet, boasts 2.6 million customers. 

Atlanta CEO Ian Donaldson said: “This is a great opportunity for us to complement our existing brands and businesses by bringing an established, well-loved and much respected brand into Atlanta. We will provide the digital investment and strength of our insurer relationships to support its future growth and success.”

Be Wiser CEO Jeff Brinley added: “It is great that the Be Wiser brand will now be able to continue to grow and prosper with access to the enormous resources and knowhow available within Atlanta.”

Consultation

The deal follows a month-long consultation process at Be Wiser, announced in February, that saw it in talks with 280 staff over a business reorganisation programme.  

The consultation was brought on by “challenging” conditions for motor brokers and the impact of the pandemic on the Andover-based business, Brinley updated at the time.

Post understands that out of 280 staff, 30 have already left the business through natural attrition and 60 staff will be leaving the business as a result of the consultation.

The remaining 189 staff will transfer to Atlanta as part of the purchase agreement.

The consultation was preceded by management changes. Brinley, originally brought in as chief financial officer as part of a shakeup last December, was named Be Wiser CEO in January as Sharon Beckett stepped down, as revealed by Post.

In 2019, as per its latest available full year accounts, the broker saw a loss of £669,000.

Atlanta deals

The deal is Atlanta’s second of the month. Earlier in April it confirmed its purchase of young driver telematics focused Marmalade. Donaldson has told Post that the group will seek to bolster its telematics offering across the business after the buy. 

The broker’s Bennett’s deal was scuppered last September. It had purchased the motorcycle broker from Saga for £26m; however, intervention by the Competiton and Markets Authority saw the group commit to sell Bennetts on. In February, David Ross, Ardonagh Group CEO, hit out at the “frustrating” regulatory process, stating that the group ”will never, ever, ever expose ourselves to a process like that ever again.”

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