Ashurst, HSF headline insurance firm acquisition

Australian banks have recently been increasing focus on core offerings, one of the firms says

Ashurst, HSF headline insurance firm acquisition

Ashurst and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) are playing key roles in the acquisition of St. Andrew’s Insurance.

Ashurst acts for Freedom Insurance Group (FIG), which entered into a share-sale agreement to acquire the insurer from Bank of Queensland Limited (BOQ) for $65m. HSF advises BOQ.

The acquisition is expected to grow FIG’s manufacturing and distribution network while establishing its underwriting capability, Ashurst said. FIG has agreed to a three-year distribution agreement with BOQ for St Andrew’s products.

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The Ashurst team is led by partner Phil Breden of the firm’s corporate group. He was supported by partners Con Tzerefos (regulatory), Rehana Box (insurance), Barbara Phair and  Peter McCullough (tax), Kenneth Tang (banking and finance), Jane Harvey (employment), Jason Cornwall-Jones (property), and Kellech Smith (IP).

FIG is funding about $35m of the consideration through a reinsurance agreement. The rest will be paid in cash, said HSF. The deal, which requires regulatory approvals including from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, is expected to close in the second half of the year.

“The sale is consistent with the recent market trend of Australian banks increasingly focusing on their core offerings in the retail and business banking sectors,” said Peter Dunne, HSF partner.

Along with Dunne, partner Michael Vrisakis, special counsel Philip Hopley and Yuban Moodley, senior associate Wendy Tian, and solicitors Liz McKinstry and Rebekah Lam are part of the HSF team.

Aura Capital is the financial adviser to FIG. Deloitte is the actuarial, tax, and accounting adviser to FIG. Citi is the financial adviser to BOQ.

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