Since its founding in 2011, Iselin-based World Insurance Associates has completed almost 200 acquisitions. Now, the firm stands to receive a more than $1 billion investment to help it “aggressively execute” its growth plan.
On Aug. 21, World announced that funds advised by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, through its Private Equity and Hybrid Capital teams, have entered into a definitive agreement to make a major investment in the company.
Goldman Sachs will join Charlesbank Capital Partners as co-lead equity investors in World. In addition, Goldman Sachs is concurrently leading a significant subordinated debt financing that will support the firm’s acquisition strategy and organic expansion.
Across both investments, Goldman Sachs will invest more than $1 billion into the company, which has a total enterprise valuation of approximately $3.4 billion, according to World.
World’s management team and employee shareholders will remain major investors along with Charlesbank and Goldman Sachs, the company confirmed.
“We are extremely excited to have a leading global financial institution like Goldman Sachs join Charlesbank at this juncture in our partnership,” World CEO and founder Rich Eknoian said in a statement. Charlesbank first invested in World in April 2020.
“The major investment Goldman Sachs is making in World will be an accelerant for us, and we intend to take full advantage of it,” Eknoian added. “As we continue to aggressively execute our growth plan, this is momentous affirmation that our unique, integrated business model is working.”
The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. After closing, Charlesbank and Goldman Sachs will have equal representation on World’s board of directors.
“Rich and his team have done a fantastic job growing World over the past few years, creating a leading and integrated platform with a broad set of attractive client offerings,” said Anthony Arnold, managing director in private equity at Goldman Sachs. “We believe our investment and access to both the insurance and wealth management capabilities within Goldman Sachs can help propel the company over the years ahead.”
Charlesbank CEO and Managing Director Michael Choe added, “We have enjoyed a terrific partnership with World over the last three years and want to congratulate Rich and the entire World team on all their accomplishments. They have consistently impressed us by over-delivering on their ambitious vision and driving industry-leading growth. We believe the company is well-positioned for further success and are excited to welcome Goldman Sachs as an investment partner.”
Evercore Group LLC and Piper Sandler & Co. served as financial advisors to World. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP provided legal counsel to World and Charlesbank. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as financial advisor, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP provided legal counsel to Goldman Sachs.
An 2022 NJBIZ Company to Watch, World has more than $500 million in revenue across three business lines of retail insurance, wholesale insurance and retirement/wealth advisory. The business has more than 2,000 employees in 260 offices across the U.S., serving more than 300,000 clients.
Some of its most recent acquisitions include Thomas C. Johnson LLC and R&S Insurance Agency Inc., both of Stoughton, Wis., on Aug. 1; Young Insurance Agency Group Inc. of Portsmouth, Va., on July 1; and fellow Garden State firm Shield Insurance Services LLC of Freehold on June 1.