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Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) Buys Harden, Expands in Florida

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Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG - Free Report) recently acquired Harden & Associates, Inc. The terms of the transaction have not been revealed yet.

Jacksonville, FL-based Harden & Associates, founded in 1953, caters to businesses and individuals largely in Florida. It offers retail property and casualty, employee benefits and related services, focusing on the healthcare, real estate and construction industries.

Addition of Harden & Associates will thus boost the acquirer’s healthcare and real estate practices in the Southeast. The acquisition will also help Arthur J. Gallagher widen its footprint in North Florida and along the East Coast of Florida and Georgia.

This marks the company’s ninth buyout to date in the fourth quarter compared with 11 acquisitions with estimated annualized revenues of $117 million in the year-ago quarter. Its merger and acquisition pipeline is quite strong with about $350 million revenues associated with nearly 40 term sheets either agreed upon or being prepared. Through the first nine months of 2020, the company closed 17 mergers, representing about $151.2 million of annualized revenues.

Strategic acquisitions     help the acquirer strengthen its footprint, penetrate new markets as well as add capabilities and boost product and service offerings. A strong capital position enables Arthur J. Gallagher to engage in strategic initiatives that poise its well for growth. The company targets about $1.5-$1.6 billion of mergers and acquisitions with free cash and debt.

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) insurance broker remains focused on long-term growth strategies for delivering organic revenue improvement, apart from making strategic mergers and acquisitions. It is also focused on productivity improvements and quality enhancements that should help it deliver sustained operational excellence.

Shares of Arthur J. Gallagher have gained 27.7% year to date compared with the industry’s 2.8% increase. Efforts to ramp up its growth profile and capital position should continue to drive share price higher.

There have been a host of acquisitions in the insurance space of late, given significant capital availability. Assurant (AIZ - Free Report) acquired EPG Insurance to consolidate its presence in the automotive service contract space. Brown & Brown (BRO - Free Report) has inked an agreement to buy the general insurance operating companies of O’Leary Insurances to penetrate into the Irish insurance market. Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC - Free Report) unit Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC (MMA) recently acquired the independent agency INSPRO in Nebraska.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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