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Private equity giant buys stake in UK's PIC

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Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has bought a stake in the parent company of Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), it announced on Friday.

It has not revealed the size of the investment, but a Sky News report in December claimed CVC was seeking a 10%-20% slice of Pension Insurance Corporation Group. The report suggested the Royal Bank of Scotland was among the sellers.

PIC runs the defined benefit pension funds of more than 130,000 former employees of UK companies such as Cadbury, London Stock Exchange, and Cookson. It runs more than £20bn (€23.5bn) in assets.

In 2015, the insurer backed a £2.4bn full buyout of the Philips Pension Fund – this is still the biggest transaction of its kind completed in the UK.

Tracy Blackwell, PIC’s CEO, said: “The combination of their financial services expertise and long-term, strategic financial support is important to us as we continue to meet the demand for securing pension obligations in the UK’s established and expanding pension insurance market.” 

Peter Rutland, global co-head of the financial services team at CVC, added: “There is growing demand from companies in the UK to remove the financial and operational risks related to their defined benefit pension obligations.

”PIC has already demonstrated its industry-leading ability to respond to this trend, providing its customers with long-term stability and financial security.”  

CVC’s only other insurance investment is Fidelis, a specialist in insuring energy, marine, property, aviation, and political risk, which it bought in June 2015. It also has previously invested in Belvedere, Brit Insurance, and NRGA, according to its website.

The acquisition of the PIC stake is the third investment made by CVC in its Strategic Opportunities Platform, for which it raised €3.9bn last year.

In other acquisition news, rival private equity firm Blackstone on Friday agreed a deal to buy the pension administration businesses of financial services conglomerate Aon. Blackstone agreed to pay up to $4.8bn (€4.5bn), with $500m of this dependent on the performance of the business, according to an announcement from Aon.

Aon – which owns investment consultant Aon Hewitt – said it wanted to focus on its risk, retirement, and health advisory services. The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.

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