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AJG Q4 Acquisition Tally Hits 10

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Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s (AJG - Free Report) , acquisition tally for the fourth quarter reached ten with yet another buyout.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired Rock Island-based Cleaveland Insurance Group, for an undisclosed amount in a bid to fortify its presence in Illinois.

Founded in 1868, Cleaveland Insurance Group operates as a retail insurance broker and offers employee benefits, property, casualty and risk management insurance services to its middle-market clients across the central United States.

The acquisition is expected to enrich and consolidate the insurance broker’s wide range of insurance products and services besides strengthening its client base in Illinois. Moreover, Cleaveland Insurance Group’s strong experience in sales and services are also expected to compliment the operations of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Post the acquisition, employees of Cleaveland Insurance Group will continue to work in their current locations, led by Thomas J. Gallagher, the mid-west region head of property and casualty brokerage operations, and William Ziebell, the north-central region head of employee benefit brokerage operations, of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s inorganic growth profile is fueled by continuous acquisitions. Quarter-to-date tally has already surpassed the third-quarter count and compares favorably with second quarter’s count.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s strong financial position continues to support its robust acquisition strategy.

We expect these acquisitions to add to the Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. growth profile. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 and 2014 are currently pegged at $2.14 and $2.52, respectively. The estimates translate to a year over year growth of 23.6% and 17.9% respectively.

With optimism over the current acquisitions and solid execution, we expect estimates to be revised upwards in the coming weeks, thus exerting an upward pressure on the Zacks Rank. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. presently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Others adopting the inorganic growth route in the insurance space are Brown & Brown Inc.’s (BRO - Free Report) subsidiary, Brown & Brown of Kentucky Inc., which acquired certain assets of O'Neil Financial Services, Agency Services Consolidated and Preserve Extended Protection Plan.

Mercer, the consulting wing of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (MMC - Free Report) , announced its intention to purchase the pension wind-up operations of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Canada in August.

A better-ranked insurance broker, AON plc (AON - Free Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), is worth considering.

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