Arthur J. Gallagher Completes Acquisition of Merriam Agency

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. AJG has closed the buyout of The Merriam Agency. The details of the transaction were not made public.

The Merriam Agency, formed in 1895, is a full-service independent insurance agency. It offers a wide range of personal and commercial insurance products from a highly qualified list of national providers, and also offers and helps manage employee benefits programs.

With a home office in Schenectady, NY, and three satellite offices in New York State and Colorado, Merriam Agency serves clients across the country.

We believe Merriam Agency is a strategic fit for Arthur J. Gallagher. With this acquisition, the acquirer will leverage the expertise of Merriam Agency and its relationships to boost its repertoire.

Notably, the latest transaction marks Arthur J. Gallagher’s fourth buyout in the third quarter of 2020. Robust capital position along with sustained solid operational performance should continue to back its inorganic efforts.

Inorganic Growth Story

Acquisitions enable this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) insurance broker to expand into desirable geographic locations, further extend its presence in retail and wholesale insurance and reinsurance brokerage services markets and increase the volume of general services currently provided. Its inorganic pipeline remains strong, with revenues of about $300 million associated with 40 term sheets either agreed upon or being prepared.

Its strong liquidity position supports Arthur J. Gallagher in its strategic initiatives. The company targets about $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion of mergers and acquisitions with free cash and debt. It expects to use the additional cash flow generated by the earnings to continue its mergers and acquisition strategy in brokerage and risk management operations.

In the first half of 2020, the company completed 12 mergers, representing about $138.1 million of annualized revenues. The buyouts provide the company with incremental capabilities and services to assist clients across Australia, the U.K., Europe and the United States. The company remains focused on its long-term growth strategies of delivering organic revenue growth and pursuing mergers and acquisitions.

Another Acquisition in the Same Space

There have been a host of acquisitions in the insurance space of late, given the significant capital available. Recently, Brown & Brown’s BRO subsidiary Brown & Brown Lone Star Insurance Services, Inc. acquired considerably all Brookstone Insurance Group, LLC’s assets.

Price Performance

Shares of the insurance broker have gained 17.7% in a year, outperforming the industry’s growth of 5.7%. Efforts to ramp up its growth profile and capital position should help shares bounce back.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked companies in the insurance industry are eHealth EHTH and Donegal Group Incorporation DGICA, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

eHealth surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, with the average being 82.02%.

Donegal surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, with the average being 86.44%.

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