BUYOUTS-Insurance broker targeting Hispanic market does biggest deal


* Buys Affirmative Insurance unit for up to $120 mln

* Confie Seguros is backed by ABRY Partners

* 17th acquisition since last November

By Steve Gelsi

NEW YORK, Sept 25 (Reuters-BUYOUTS) - Private equity-backedinsurance broker Confie Seguros is buying the retail autoinsurance unit of Affirmative Insurance Holdings inits largest in a series of acquisitions to build up its businesswith Hispanic customers around the United States.

Affirmative Insurance Holdings said the deal includes $100million in cash and up to $20 million in additional proceeds. Itintends to use the money to pay down debt and focus on itsbusiness as an insurance carrier.

Confie Seguros President Mordy Rothberg said the acquisitionwill add scale and speed growth by expanding the company's reachby nearly 200 offices, including its first major presence inDallas, a key market.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for us," Rothberg said of thepurchase of the unit of the Addison, Texas-based distributor andproducer of non-standard personal automobile insurancepolicies. "It'll accelerate our growth and our footprint."

Confie Seguros, which is owned by Boston-based privateequity firm ABRY Partners, will have 550 locations in 16 states,with projected 2013 revenue of $300 million, when the deal isfinalized as expected in the next few days, Rothberg said.

The Affirmative Insurance unit includes two premium financecompanies and 500 employees working in 195 offices in Louisiana,Alabama, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, SouthCarolina and Wisconsin. The deal was announced on Sept. 16 andwas expected to close within 30 days.

The Hispanic market for insurance remains underserved, eventhough it is a fast-growing demographic in the U.S. population,Rothberg said.

"We're still in the second inning of the Confie Segurosstory," Rothberg said. "This deal has been a game changer. Withthe help of ABRY we've taken the company to the next level."

Signaling more transactions ahead, Rothberg said hiscompany's pipeline for acquisitions "is as robust as ever."

The deal marked Confie Seguros's 17th acquisition since ABRYPartners bought the Huntington Beach, Calif, company from SanFrancisco-based private equity firm Genstar Capital LLC lastNovember. By the end of this month, that deal tally is expectedto rise to 23 under ABRY Partners, Rothberg said. ABRY Partnersdid not return a phone call and email seeking comment.

Confie Seguros made 38 acquisitions while it was owned byGenstar Capital between 2008 and 2012.

Rothberg co-founded Confie Seguros in 2008 with thecompany's Chief Executive Officer Joseph Waked. Previously,Rothberg had worked at IDT Corp and Net2Phone.

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