The merger between Hyperion Insurance Group and RK Harrison (RKH) has not put an end to David Howden’s plans to float his company.
Howden revealed grand ambitions for the combined business, and said that the last time a broking company was built up from scratch to this extent was “when Pat Ryan did it with Aon”. In October 2014, Aon was ranked the largest insurance broker in the world based on revenues.
The Hyperion chief executive told City A.M. yesterday an initial public offering (IPO) was a “stepping stone to the company’s next phase of growth”, but that the firm would need time to settle into its new status as the “world’s largest majority employee-owned insurance group” after the RKH deal completes in the second quarter of this year.
“RK Harrison is an amazing specialty business,” he said. “And Hyperion has a pretty much unique distribution network. Put these companies together and it’s a pretty powerful force.”
The transaction will see Hyperion acquire 100 per cent of RKH’s share capital for upwards of £400m after several months of talks. Howden revealed yesterday that the two firms first discussed a merger in 2010, but the timing was not right.
FOCUS: DAVID HOWDEN
David Howden founded Hyperion Group in 1994 as a wholesale broker employing five people, turning over “less than £500,000 a year” in its earliest stages.
It has since grown to encompass an international broking business, and an underwriting agency under the Dual brand. In 2014 the firm increased revenue by 19 per cent from £167m to £199m.
Howden has confessed to being “very excited” about the deal with RK Harrison, however the deal that has kept the insurance market interested for several years now, is Hyperion’s eventual float. The company’s leader has kept this interest going by refusing to set a date, but never refusing to talk about the float as an inevitable move the firm will make.
“When we choose to IPO, we will be floating as a company comfortably in the FTSE 250,” Howden said yesterday. He also told City A.M. that Hyperion was targetting A-list investors: “When you go public, you need people who really back your vision and will hold your stock through bad times as well as good times.”
However, there was more disappointment for those hoping to gain some insight into the timing of Hyperion’s IPO. “It’s not on the agenda at the moment, it’s not imminent,” said Howden.