Green Bay, WI – January 16, 2015 – Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE: ASB) (“Associated”) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Ahmann & Martin Co., a leading risk and benefits consulting firm in Minnesota through a merger with and into Associated’s subsidiary Associated Financial Group. The transaction is expected to close next month.
Associated Financial Group is a leading benefits specialist firm with more than 240 insurance specialists across Associated’s three-state footprint and generating over $49 million of annualized insurance-related revenues. Associated Financial Group provides employee benefits, business insurance and human resource consulting, and select individual/private insurance services. Ahmann & Martin Co. adds a range of complementary financial services such as employee benefits, risk management, and business insurance with specialization in industry-specific solutions.
“The addition of this fast-growing and respected company to the Associated family enhances our ability to offer clients unique, comprehensive solutions to meet their insurance and financial risk management needs,” said Associated president and CEO, Philip B. Flynn. “As we look forward, we will continue to seek ways in which we can prudently grow our capabilities and drive greater client and shareholder value.”
According to Flynn, a core benefit of the new combination is the opportunity for clients to centralize management of their financial risks with one valued partner.
Management teams from the two firms have known each other for several years, providing a unique and compelling opportunity to join two premier firms with complementary strengths into an even more vibrant organization going forward.
Based on 2013 pro forma revenues, the company believes that this combination with Ahmann & Martin Co. will move Associated Financial Group among the United States’ top 50 insurance brokerage firms. Together, the firms will employ more than 370 colleagues and serve approximately 14,000 clients.
“There are many aspects to this new partnership that will contribute to our continuing success,” said William M. Bohn, Associated Banc-Corp EVP and head of Private Client & Institutional Services, which includes Associated Financial Group. “Perhaps the most significant are the client-centric values and common culture inherent in both organizations. Our shared priority on client relationships and innovative strategic solutions creates a powerful value proposition as we go forward together.”
As part of the proposed transaction, several key Ahmann & Martin Co. executives will assume leadership roles at Associated Financial Group and will be responsible for the thoughtful integration and expansion of the business. Dean Hildebrandt, the current CEO of Ahmann & Martin Co., will assume the role of president and CEO of the newly combined firm. He will report to Bohn who will serve as chairman of Associated Financial Group.
In addition, David Martin, benefits principal of Ahmann & Martin Co., will serve as executive vice president and lead Associated Financial Group’s overall benefits strategy. Richard Ahmann III, property and casualty principal at Ahmann & Martin Co., will also continue with the firm playing a key role in helping to bring the businesses together. Ahmann, Martin and Hildebrandt will all be members of Associated Financial Group’s board of directors.
“The process of consummating this new relationship has assured me we are establishing a powerful business combination to protect and strengthen our client commitments,” Hildebrandt said. “By providing access to Associated’s complete array of banking and financial services, we extend the ways we help businesses and institutions manage their risks.”
The transaction is valued at approximately $48 million with the opportunity to increase the consideration by $8 million should certain contingencies be met over a defined period. The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on Associated’s 2015 and 2016 earnings and is expected to be accretive to Associated’s 2017 earnings.
Associated will release 2014 fourth quarter and full-year financial results on Thursday, January 22, 2015, after market close. The company will host a conference call for investors and analysts at 4:00 p.m. Central Time (CT) on that day to discuss results along with this transaction.