Liberty Mutual, State Auto Mutual, and State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STFC) announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement pursuant to which Liberty Mutual would acquire State Auto Group, a super-regional insurance holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Under the terms of the agreement, State Auto mutual members will become mutual members of Liberty Mutual and Liberty Mutual will acquire all of the publicly held shares of common stock of State Auto Financial for $52 per share in cash.
The acquisition will significantly expand Liberty Mutual’s position as an industry leader for personal lines and small commercial insurance. Liberty Mutual today distributes its Safeco Insurance personal auto, homeowners and specialty products, and Liberty Mutual small business insurance through more than 10,000 independent agencies countrywide. Through the deal, Liberty Mutual will add $2.3 billion in premium and State Auto’s network of approximately 3,400 independent agencies across 33 states and is expected to become the second largest carrier in this key distribution channel.
“State Auto Group’s capabilities and product expertise are an ideal complement to Liberty Mutual’s domestic personal lines and small commercial business, and we welcome 2,000 talented associates to our family,” said Liberty Mutual Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Long. “Equally appealing are its values. For almost a century, State Auto has celebrated a culture of caring for people, exceptional service and deep philanthropy, mirroring our purpose to help people embrace today and confidently pursue tomorrow.”
The sixth-largest auto and home insurer in the US, Liberty Mutual also offers multiple distribution channels to consumers for its Liberty Mutual-branded products: through exclusive agents in local sales offices countrywide, licensed telesales counselors and online.
“The opportunity to join the Liberty Mutual organization is a direct result of the incredible work of the State Auto team, beginning with the transformation of our business and culture that began in 2015,” said State Auto President and CEO Mike LaRocco. “We’ve become a digital provider of auto, home and business insurance while remaining fully committed to the independent agency system, as we’ve been since our founding 100 years ago. Our partnership with Liberty Mutual will further that commitment to independent agents and contribute to the collective success of our agents, policyholders, shareholders and associates.”
The transaction was approved by the State Auto Financial board of directors (upon the recommendation of a special committee of independent State Auto Financial directors), as well as the State Auto Mutual board of directors (upon the recommendation of a special committee of independent State Auto Mutual directors). The deal is expected to close in 2022, pending State Auto Mutual member approval, State Auto Financial shareholder approval, receipt of required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. In connection with the merger of State Auto Financial, State Auto Mutual has entered into a voting agreement with Liberty Mutual under which it has agreed to vote its 58.8% interest in State Auto Financial in favor of the merger.
Waller Helms Advisors LLC and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as financial advisors and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as legal advisor to Liberty Mutual in the transaction.
Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc. acted as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisor to the Special Committee of Independent Directors of State Auto Financial in the transaction.
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, a Stifel Company, and BofA Securities, Inc. acted as financial advisors and Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP acted as legal advisor to the Special Committee of Independent Directors of State Auto Mutual in the transaction.