In a deal that will expand its presence in key markets, Marsh will acquire HSBC Insurance Brokers Ltd. (HIBL), a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Bank, for £135 million (about U.S. $193 million), comprising a mixture of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. stock and cash.

The transaction, which is subject to all relevant regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010. Concurrent with this transaction, Marsh entered into a preferred strategic partnership (PSP) with HSBC. Under the terms of the PSP, Marsh will have preferred access to provide insurance broking and risk management services to HSBC’s corporate and private clients.

Headquartered in London, HIBL holds prominent market positions in other countries where Marsh has both a significant presence and plans to grow, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

"Acquiring HIBL is a great opportunity for Marsh, our clients, our colleagues and for the HIBL team,” says Dan Glaser, Marsh's chairman and CEO. “We are particularly excited by the opportunities available to us through the PSP with HSBC. It will enable us to leverage HSBC's global network and banking relationships to generate new business. We also see good growth potential in placing third party business generated via HIBL’s accident, health and contingency, cargo, specie and North American practices.”

Marsh will manage the specialist business through a dedicated business unit called Gibbs Hartley Cooper—reviving the name of the 1808 independent broker.

"The beauty of this agreement is that on the one hand we are improving the breadth and sophistication of HSBC broking services for our customers, while at the same time sharpening our strategic focus on the bancassurance model with emphasis on life, pensions and investments," says Clive Bannister, group managing director, insurance, HSBC Holdings plc.

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