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Miller sales talks break down leaving Tysers ownership question open

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Independent broker Tysers has been left in limbo after talks with Cinven-backed Miller broke down without a transaction agreed, Insurance Insider can reveal.

Sources said that BMS, which was initially linked to Tysers during the summer, briefly resumed work on a potential deal before pulling out of talks in the early autumn.

It is understood that Miller, after cooling on a possible deal in late summer, engaged in revived talks with its erstwhile target in recent weeks – but these discussions have now concluded.

The ending of sales talks leaves US private equity owner Odyssey without a clear path to offload Tysers, a 200-year-old London market name that now also houses RFIB and the remnants of Integro’s London business after a series of deals.

Other viable options for a trade sale of Tysers are now highly restricted, although a deal with a private equity buyer seeking a London market platform is still considered a long-odds possibility by sources.

As such, some sources believe that Odyssey will now choose to retain Tysers and provide CEO Clive Buesnel with additional time to integrate the pieces and drive improvements in the numbers.

PIB had already disengaged from the process, while fellow consolidator Ardonagh is occupied with on-boarding Corant Global, which it bought for $500mn in a deal struck in May.

This publication reported in September that Odyssey's hopes that it could secure an £800mn ($1.1bn) valuation for Tysers via a restricted process with select London consolidators had been disappointed.

Sell-side bank Rothschild, which launched the Tysers process in May, was during the summer obliged to reach out to new bidders through August and into early September, as Miller and Tysers struggled to reach consensus on a price.

One of the main issues throughout the process has been a mismatch between Odyssey and Miller backer Cinven around a valuation for Tysers.

This challenge stemmed partially from the broker’s large sports and entertainment business, which saw revenues dry up during 2020 during the pandemic. With the volume of live events still nowhere near pre-Covid levels, valuing the contribution of that segment has remained difficult.

In recent months, Tysers has also seen a significant uptick in staff attrition, as competitors took advantage of the uncertainty to prise away staff.

These include head of terrorism and political violence Harry Simpson and his team, who went to BMS, and financial lines head Christina Allen, who joined OneGlobal.

Other exits include North American and international specialty head Matthew Sinclair who, along with colleague David Pratt-Sinclair, established a property and specialty team at Besso.

Rivals have also targeted Tyser’s reinsurance side, with Howden picking off a reinsurance team led by Hugo Chelton.

Cinven and BMS declined to comment. Tysers did not respond to a request for comment.

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