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Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: AMBC) ("Ambac’), a financial services holding company, today announced, consistent with its platform diversification strategy, that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 80% of the membership interests of each of Xchange Benefits, LLC and Xchange Affinity Underwriting Agency, LLC (collectively, "Xchange"), subject to customary closing conditions. Xchange, whose management principals will retain the remaining 20% of the company, will continue operating under its existing brand as it seeks to expand its underwriting partnership with its key carriers in connection with its planned growth strategy.
Xchange is a property and casualty Managing General Underwriter (MGU), specializing in accident and health insurance. Since its inception in 2010, Xchange has built a successful business supported by major insurers, reinsurers, third party administrators, brokers and producers. The acquisition by Ambac will enable Xchange to realize its significant growth potential through geographic and product diversification, accelerating its strategic plans.
Claude LeBlanc, Ambac’s President and CEO, stated: "As part of our broader specialty program insurance strategy we have been actively pursuing acquisition opportunities in the MGU and Managing General Agent (MGA) sector. We expect the acquisition of Xchange to be immediately accretive to Ambac and allow us to use our net operating losses. We also believe that the acquisition furthers Ambac’s commitment to unlocking long-term shareholder value by generating recurring fee-based income with attractive risk adjusted returns. The Xchange team has delivered outstanding underwriting results for their carrier partners and we look forward to welcoming the team to the Ambac family."
Peter McGuire, Xchange’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are thrilled to be joining the Ambac family as they transition to the specialty program market. This transaction provides us with a strategic partner plus access to permanent capital that will accelerate our planned growth strategy and Ambac will benefit from a proven, established niche MGU with a history of consistently strong operating results and carrier support."
Ambac’s platform diversification strategy includes building a dynamic platform with both admitted and non-admitted carriers, as well as MGAs and MGUs.
Ambac continues to progress Pillar I of its specialty insurance strategy via the Everspan Group platform which will include participatory fronting admitted and non-admitted specialty program carriers. Everspan Insurance Company ("Everspan Insurance"), an admitted carrier, was recently redomesticated to Arizona and has received approval for broader property and casualty licenses from the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions. Additionally, the Everspan Group also successfully established a new surplus lines carrier, Everspan Indemnity Insurance Company, also domiciled in Arizona.
Ambac’s Pillar II strategy is focused on fee-based MGA and MGU businesses. The acquisition of Xchange marks the first step towards the development of Pillar II, which we expect to expand in the coming year via acquisitions and organic growth platforms.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acted as legal advisor and UBS Investment Bank acted as financial adviser to Ambac on the transaction.
Founded in 2010, the Xchange Group is a diverse group of business units focused on the global insurance and reinsurance industry. Led by a team who have industry leading experience, Xchange Group, underwrites, consults, creates products, creates retail distribution, structures risk, transacts reinsurance, advises on capital deployment and most importantly, listens to their clients.
Ambac Financial Group, Inc. ("Ambac" or "AFG"), headquartered in New York City, is a financial services holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Ambac Assurance Corporation and Ambac Assurance UK Limited, are financial guarantee insurance companies currently in runoff. Outstanding policies include financial guarantees of public finance and structured finance obligations in the public and private sectors globally. Ambac’s common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "AMBC". The Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Ambac contains substantial restrictions on the ability to transfer Ambac’s common stock. Subject to limited exceptions, any attempted transfer of common stock shall be prohibited and void to the extent that, as a result of such transfer (or any series of transfers of which such transfer is a part), any person or group of persons shall become a holder of 5% or more of Ambac’s common stock or a holder of 5% or more of Ambac’s common stock increases its ownership interest. Ambac is committed to providing timely and accurate information to the investing public, consistent with our legal and regulatory obligations. To that end, we use our website to convey information about our businesses, including the anticipated release of quarterly financial results, quarterly financial, statistical and business-related information, and the posting of updates to the status of certain residential mortgage backed securities litigations. For more information, please go to www.ambac.com.
In this press release, statements that may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "estimate," "project," "plan," "believe," "anticipate," "intend," "planned," "potential" and similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as "will," "should," "would," "could," and "may," or the negative of those expressions or verbs, identify forward-looking statements. We caution readers that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only our beliefs regarding future events, which may by their nature be inherently uncertain and some of which may be outside our control. These statements may relate to plans and objectives with respect to the future, among other things which may change. We are alerting you to the possibility that our actual results may differ, possibly materially, from the expected objectives or anticipated results that may be suggested, expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our results to differ, possibly materially, from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include, among others, those discussed under "Risk Factors" in our most recent SEC filed quarterly or annual report.
Any or all of management’s forward-looking statements here or in other publications may turn out to be incorrect and are based on management’s current belief or opinions. Ambac’s actual results may vary materially, and there are no guarantees about the performance of Ambac’s securities. Among events, risks, uncertainties or factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are: (1) the highly speculative nature of AFG’s common stock and volatility in the price of AFG’s common stock; (2) uncertainty concerning the Company’s ability to achieve value for holders of its securities, whether from Ambac Assurance Corporation ("Ambac Assurance") and its subsidiaries or from transactions or opportunities apart from Ambac Assurance and its subsidiaries, including new business initiatives; (3) changes in Ambac’s estimated representation and warranty recoveries or loss reserves over time; (4) failure to recover claims paid on Puerto Rico exposures or incurrence of losses in amounts higher than expected; (5) adverse effects on AFG’s share price resulting from future offerings of debt or equity securities that rank senior to AFG’s common stock; (6) potential of rehabilitation proceedings against Ambac Assurance; (7) dilution of current shareholder value or adverse effects on AFG’s share price resulting from the issuance of additional shares of common stock; (8) inadequacy of reserves established for losses and loss expenses and possibility that changes in loss reserves may result in further volatility of earnings or financial results; (9) increased fiscal stress experienced by issuers of public finance obligations or an increased incidence of Chapter 9 filings or other restructuring proceedings by public finance issuers, including an increased risk of loss on revenue bonds of distressed public finance issuers due to judicial decisions adverse to revenue bond holders; (10) Ambac's inability to realize the expected recoveries included in its financial statements; (11) insufficiency or unavailability of collateral to pay secured obligations; (12) credit risk throughout Ambac’s business, including but not limited to credit risk related to residential mortgage-backed securities, student loan and other asset securitizations, public finance obligations (including obligations of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its instrumentalities and agencies) and exposures to reinsurers; (13) credit risks related to large single risks, risk concentrations and correlated risks; (14) the risk that the Ambac’s risk management policies and practices do not anticipate certain risks and/or the magnitude of potential for loss; (15) risks associated with adverse selection as Ambac’s insured portfolio runs off; (16) adverse effects on operating results or the Company’s financial position resulting from measures taken to reduce risks in its insured portfolio; (17) disagreements or disputes with Ambac's insurance regulators; (18) our inability to mitigate or remediate losses, commute or reduce insured exposures or achieve recoveries or investment objectives, or the failure of any transaction intended to accomplish one or more of these objectives to deliver anticipated results; (19) Ambac’s substantial indebtedness could adversely affect its financial condition and operating flexibility; (20) Ambac may not be able to obtain financing or raise capital on acceptable terms or at all due to its substantial indebtedness and financial condition; (21) Ambac may not be able to generate the significant amount of cash needed to service its debt and financial obligations, and may not be able to refinance its indebtedness; (22) restrictive covenants in agreements and instruments may impair Ambac's ability to pursue or achieve its business strategies; (23) loss of control rights in transactions for which we provide insurance due to a finding that Ambac has defaulted; (24) the impact of catastrophic environmental or natural events, including catastrophic public health events like the COVID-19 pandemic, on significant portions of our insured and investment portfolios; (25) adverse tax consequences or other costs resulting from the characterization of Ambac Assurance’s surplus notes or other obligations as equity; (26) risks attendant to the change in composition of securities in Ambac’s investment portfolio; (27) changes in prevailing interest rates; (28) the expected discontinuance of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate; (29) factors that may influence the amount of installment premiums paid to Ambac; (30) default by one or more of Ambac's portfolio investments, insured issuers or counterparties; (31) market risks impacting assets in the Ambac’s investment portfolio or the value of our assets posted as collateral in respect of interest rate swap transactions; (32) risks relating to determinations of amounts of impairments taken on investments; (33) the risk of litigation and regulatory inquiries or investigations, and the risk of adverse outcomes in connection therewith, which could have a material adverse effect on Ambac’s business, operations, financial position, profitability or cash flows; (34) actions of stakeholders whose interests are not aligned with broader interests of Ambac's stockholders; (35) system security risks, data protection breaches and cyber attacks; (36) changes in accounting principles or practices that may impact Ambac’s reported financial results; (37) the economic and regulatory impact of "Brexit"; (38) operational risks, including with respect to internal processes, risk and investment models, systems and employees, and failures in services or products provided by third parties; (39) Ambac’s financial position that may prompt departures of key employees and may impact the its ability to attract qualified executives and employees; (40) fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely impact the insured portfolio in the event of loss reserves or claim payments denominated in a currency other than US dollars and the value of non-US dollar denominated securities in our investment portfolio; and (41) other risks and uncertainties that have not been identified at this time.
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Lisa A. Kampf
Managing Director, Investor Relations