New York, NY, October 04, 2007 – Lightyear Capital LLC (“Lightyear”), a New York-based private equity firm focused on financial services investing, today announced that it has established Antares Holdings Limited (“Antares”), a newly formed Bermuda-based holding company whose businesses will include the sponsorship of a new Lloyd’s of London (“Lloyd’s”) syndicate (“Antares Syndicate 1274”).
Antares Syndicate 1274 has obtained approval in principle from the Lloyd’s Franchise Board to begin writing for the 2008 year of account with an underwriting capacity (gross written premium net of brokerage commission) of £135 million (approximately $270 million). The syndicate will be managed by Chaucer Syndicates Limited, a leading provider of third party syndicate services, and capital for it will be provided by Lightyear and its partners.
Through an arrangement with Württembergische Versicherung AG (“WürttVers”), a leading German insurer, Antares will assume the renewal rights to the existing London market portfolio of WürttVers and acquire its U.K. subsidiary, Württembergische UK Limited (“WürttUK”). The renewal rights pertain to an existing diversified specialty insurance portfolio with eight separate lines of business. The business will continue to be run by its current management, led by 32-year industry veteran Stephen D. Redmond.
“This transaction exemplifies Lightyear’s strategy of identifying high-quality, specialty financial services businesses run by talented and experienced management teams,” said Donald B. Marron, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lightyear. “In reviewing opportunities in this space, Lightyear identified WürttUK, a solid business with significant potential. By repositioning it as a Lloyd’s syndicate, the company is now poised for future success and well-positioned to become a recognized leader in its categories.”
“This is an exciting and innovative investment with the added benefit of extending our franchise experience in Europe,” said Mark Vassallo, Managing Director of Lightyear.
Lloyd’s, the world’s leading specialist insurance market with a 319-year history, is currently home to 68 syndicates providing £16 billion (approximately $32 billion) in capacity for 2007. By devising tailored, innovative solutions to complex problems, Lloyd’s creates a market that enables underwriters to work with brokers to place the world’s most specialized risks.
“The Lloyd’s platform is the optimal franchise for our clients and for the diversified portfolio of business to be underwritten by the Antares syndicate in 2008,” said Stephen D. Redmond, the Managing Director of WürttUK who will be Chief Executive Officer of Antares. “We are delighted to partner with Lightyear Capital. Their industry knowledge, experience, and relationships were invaluable in putting this transaction together.”
Lightyear led the transaction and is joined by strategic equity partners Chaucer Holdings PLC (LSE: CHU) and WürttVers and by private equity sponsors Hamilton Lane and Norwest Equity Partners.
Commenting on the transaction, David W. Glenn, Managing Director of Lightyear, added, “We have worked hard to identify the right vehicle for a Lloyd’s-based investment and have executed a complex transaction that required bringing together a range of qualified parties. We are pleased to have assembled the finest team of partners and co-investors for this transaction.”
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007, is subject to customary regulatory approval and other conditions. Lightyear received financial advice from Aon Capital Markets and legal counsel from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Clyde & Co.
About Lightyear Capital LLC
Lightyear is a private equity investment firm providing buyout and growth capital to companies in the financial services industry. Based in New York, Lightyear, through its affiliated funds, has managed approximately $3 billion of committed capital with investments across the financial services spectrum, including asset management, banking, brokerage, financial technology, insurance, leasing and related business services, and other sectors within financial services. Lightyear brings unique strengths and discipline to its investment process, as well as operating, transaction, and strategic management experience, along with significant contacts and resources beyond capital. The senior team of professionals has an average of 20 years of financial services-related experience and includes David Glenn, Stewart Gross, Donald Marron, Richard Sterne, and Mark Vassallo.
For more information, please visit www.lycap.com.
About Chaucer Holdings PLC
Chaucer is a specialist insurance and reinsurance group listed on the London Stock Exchange. It provides the capital and expertise required to underwrite business at Lloyd’s, the world’s leading insurance and reinsurance market. At the core of the business are Syndicate 1084, which underwrites marine, non marine, and motor insurance, and Nuclear Syndicate 1176. Syndicate 1084 is rated ‘A' (Excellent) by A.M. Best.
For more information on Chaucer, please visit www.chaucerplc.com
About Württembergische Versicherung AG
WürttVers is one of the ten largest insurance companies in Germany, established in 1828. WürttVers is owned by Wüstenrot and Württembergische AG, a leading financial services group that was formed in 1999 by the merger of the Württembergische companies with the Wüstenrot banking group. W&W AG, which also includes Germany’s third largest building society, has total assets of approximately €71 billion.
For more information on WürttVers, please visit www.wuerttembergische.de
About Norwest Equity Partners
Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) provides middle market companies with the capital they need to reach their goals. The firm focuses on providing equity investments of $20-$100 million in growing and profitable companies through management buyouts, recapitalizations, and growth financings. NEP takes pride in its flexible investment charter, extensive resources, carefully tailored transactions, and meaningful partnerships. Since its founding in 1961, NEP has earned a reputation as one of the premier private equity investment firms in the United States. NEP has in excess of $3 billion in capital under management and is currently investing NEP VIII, an $800 million fund.
For more information on NEP, please visit www.nep.com
About Hamilton Lane
Hamilton Lane is an independent financial institution that provides discretionary and non-discretionary private equity asset management services to sophisticated investors worldwide. Founded in 1991, Hamilton Lane has offices in the U.S., London, Tel Aviv, and Singapore and offers a full range of investment products and services that enable clients to participate in the private equity asset class on a global and customized basis. Hamilton Lane has over $10 billion in private equity assets under management, oversees an additional $75 billion in advisory assets, and is responsible for over $20 billion in commitments to non-U.S. funds, principally in Western Europe and the United Kingdom as well as in Asia, Japan, and Australia.
For more information on Hamilton Lane, please visit www.hamiltonlane.com
Lightyear Capital LLC Contacts:
Richard Campbell or Angus Urquhart
+44 (0) 20 7307 5330