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Eversheds has advised Manchester-based Swinton Insurance Group on its purchase of Colonnade Insurance Brokers for £27m
The acquisition of Colonnade from parent group Provident Financial makes Swinton the UK's biggest high street insurer, with 348 high street branches. Swinton was part of the Royal & SunAlliance group until it was acquired by French mutual MMA last year. This was the first major acquisition for Swinton. Eversheds corporate partner Patrick Rawnsley said: "It's great to see them on the acquisition trail. It will turn them into a really big player in the industry." The two-month deal involved a team of 40 lawyers from the firm's Manchester and Leeds offices. Rawnsley, who joined Eversheds 15 months ago from Halliwell Landau, led the deal. Swinton is a longstanding corporate client of Rawnsley's from his time at Halliwells. This was the first time the insurer has used Eversheds for its corporate work, although Rawnsley said that it had used the firm for specialist advice on issues such as consumer credit and data protection. "Traditionally, it was corporate partners who brought the work in and then handed it out to the specialist lawyers, but this is a good example of the specialist lawyers attracting the client in the first place and the corporate work following on from that," he said. Vendor Provident Financial was advised by Pinsent Curtis Biddle in Leeds.