Osborne Clarke gains Endsleigh work

Osborne Clarke gained the lead role on a multimillion-pound management buyout through its relationship with Deloitte & Touche. The accountancy firm was advising a management team at Endsleigh Insurance Group on its buyout and recommended corporate partner Alisdair Livingstone for the job.
Livingstone led on the deal, which saw a consortium including Endsleigh’s managing director and sales director, current shareholder the National Union of Students (NUS) and Zurich Financial Services acquire Dutch insurance company De Goudse’s majority share in Endsleigh.
Prior to the deal, student insurance company Endsleigh was part-owned by both De Goudse and the NUS. A new company was set up to buy De Goudse’s 86 per cent stake, and under a separate agreement the company also bought the remaining shares controlled by the NUS. Livingstone said the deal threw up complications as a result of dealing with two separate sellers, particularly when one selling party, the NUS, was also involved in the acquisition.
Endsleigh has captured the student insurance market. Set up by the NUS in 1965, it is now one of the largest high street insurance retailers in the country, boasting around 130 branches. In 1999 it generated a fee income of £42.3m, of which £4.55m was profit.
“It was a very good and quite complex deal,” commented Livingstone. The process of decision-making by committee at the NUS occasionally frustrated efforts to complete quickly. The original timetable anticipated completion in January, but the transaction finally concluded earlier this month.
Livingstone observed: “You can’t get them to do things quickly. Even though they have commercial guys that you deal with, they don’t make the decisions.”
Dechert partner David Weir advised the NUS and Clyde & Co head of corporate David Page acted for De Goudse. Page said: “We were delighted to have been instructed by De Goudse to represent it in the sale of its shareholding in Endsleigh. The transaction involved a number of complex and challenging corporate and property issues, and the end result merely serves to highlight the ability of the firm in these areas.”
Zurich’s involvement was akin to that of a venture capital company. It was advised by Blake Lapthorn partner Sean Wright.