Aon to acquire real estate investment advisor Townsend Group

Aon, the leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Townsend Group, majority owned by Colony NorthStar, Inc., a leading global real estate and investment management firm. Townsend is a leading provider of global investment management and advisory services primarily focused on real estate. This transaction will bolster Aon’s offering in alternative private market assets, reflecting the increasingly important role they have in client portfolios.

Aon has agreed to acquire Townsend for $475 million subject to certain purchase price adjustments. The transaction is expected to close over the next six months, subject to customary closing and negotiated conditions.

With the integration of Townsend’s solutions into its Investment business, Aon will significantly expand its investment capabilities, which include outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) services and advisory services for large and mid-sized global organizations. Aon’s Investment organization currently manages more than $100 billion of worldwide assets and advises on $4.2 trillion of assets globally for more than 2,500 clients around the world. Aon is currently one of the top three OCIO providers in the world measured by global assets under management. The acquisition of Townsend will bring greater depth of expertise in real estate and real assets to Aon’s distribution scale and further Aon’s ability to provide more attractive investment opportunities for clients.

“Our clients’ investment strategies are focused on driving the strongest risk management and return outcomes, and alternative private market investments are playing an increasingly important role in those strategies,” said Cary Grace, chief executive officer of Global Retirement & Investment Solutions at Aon. “This acquisition will unite two investment industry leaders that provide objective advice and implemented OCIO solutions to institutional investors. Together, we will expand our capabilities and expertise to create sophisticated investment solutions that best serve our clients and further accelerate our growth.”

Townsend advises on $175.7 billion in global assets and manages $14.5 billion in assets. The firm’s clients include many of the world’s leading global investors in North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

“We were happy to have a large number of quality firms that wanted to partner with us, but it was the commonality of culture, approach and expertise that led us to Aon,” said Terry Ahern, CEO of Townsend Group. “We look forward to having additional opportunities to continue our evolution that we began 30 years ago, while leveraging the platform, capabilities and people that, together, Aon and Townsend can offer to clients.”

Ahern will continue to lead real estate and real asset investment services as part of Aon’s Global Retirement & Investment organization.

This acquisition is the latest example of Aon‘s ongoing commitment to allocate capital to high-value solutions that address emerging client needs, sharpen the firm’s focus on delivering advice and solutions, and strengthen its global footprint.

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