Boston, MA (January 28, 2008) – Parthenon Capital and Century Capital, two mid-market private equity firms that are active investors in the financial services sector, announced today the formation of Ascension Insurance, Inc., a de novo retail insurance brokerage with a focus on building a leading middle market insurance brokerage by acquiring and growing property and casualty, risk management, and employee benefits brokerages nationwide. Ascension is led by its CEO, Len Kline, who was previously CEO of Compass Insurance Inc., the insurance brokerage division of Compass Bank.
Jon Grad, a Partner at Parthenon Capital, said “Both we and Century have long been attracted to insurance brokerage. Through our work in the industry, we had both come to the conclusion that there remains significant consolidation opportunity and organic growth potential among middle-market brokerages. The gating issue, however, had always been finding great management. We were very fortunate to have found in Len Kline a CEO with the track record for growth and profitability improvement we were looking for. We’re looking forward to building a scale, mid-market brokerage business with Len over the next several years.” Gerard Vecchio, a Managing Director at Century Capital, added “Len’s proven track record in both acquiring and integrating brokerages into a profitable growth company bodes well for Ascension’s future.”
Concurrent with this announcement, Ascension Insurance today announced its first two platform acquisitions: first, the purchase of privately-held Bryant Wharton & Associates, a leading provider of employee benefits and risk management services in the greater Atlanta area; and second, the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Pan American Underwriters, Inc., a diversified property and casualty insurance brokerage based in Southern California.
Kline stated, “We are excited to begin building Ascension through these two high-quality acquisitions. Both Bryant Wharton and Pan American are outstanding growth franchises in their respective markets, have unique expertise to provide superior service to their customer base, and are led by strong management teams that have built close relationships with their customers and carriers. These acquisitions will provide a solid foundation for Ascension’s future growth in California, the Southeast region and beyond.” According to Kline, going forward, Ascension will target property and casualty, and employee benefits brokerages with revenue of between $5 million and $40 million utilizing a partnership-oriented philosophy, where owners become significant shareholders in Ascension and existing management remains in place. For more information, visit www.ascensionins.com
About Parthenon Capital
Parthenon Capital is a leading mid-market private equity firm based in Boston and San Francisco. Parthenon utilizes niche industry expertise and a deep execution team to invest in growth companies in service industries. Parthenon seeks to be an active and aligned partner to management, either through recapitalization transactions or by backing new executives. Parthenon has particular expertise in business services, financial and insurance services and healthcare, but seeks any service, technology or delivery business with a strong value proposition and proprietary know-how. Parthenon’s 25 person investment team has deep experience in corporate strategy, capital markets and operations, enabling the firm to pursue complex, multi-faceted value creation opportunities. For more information, visit www.parthenoncapital.com
About Century Capital Private Equity
Boston-based Century Capital Management’s Private Equity Group specializes in the middle market financial services industry with a focus on insurance. The firm pursues both majority and minority investments in rapidly growing, profitable businesses and is considered a knowledgeable and value-added partner. In addition to Ascension Insurance, Inc., representative investments include Forethought Financial Group, Inc., Cathedral Capital PLC, Alliant Insurance, Inc. and Thompson Insurance Enterprises, LLC. For more information, visit www.centurycap.com