Private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland buys AA Ireland for €156m

Private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI) has made its seventh Irish investment with the acquisition of AA Ireland for €156.6m.

The fund — a joint venture between US global asset manager the Carlyle Group and Irish investment company Cardinal Capital Group — has bought AA Ireland in a deal that is expected to be completed this month.

A deal for the motoring services provider and insurance intermediary had been expected after its parent company, AA, confirmed earlier this year that it was in talks over a possible deal.

The Irish business, which employs 430, will continue to be led by its existing management team, headed by chief executive Brendan Nevin.

Cardinal Capital Group managing director John Dolan lauded the acquisition of AA Ireland and confirmed the joint venture is on the lookout for further deals.

“This is CCI’s seventh investment in growing Irish companies since 2014 and we continue to explore further potential investments. The AA Ireland is a fantastic brand with a high degree of recognition and trust among consumers,” said Mr Dolan.

“With our investment building on the existing strengths of the business, there is a strong platform to achieve the long-term growth opportunities that have been identified for AA Ireland.”

Carlyle Group previously made a successful investment in the RAC in the UK and is looking to bring its experience in the sector to bear on the AA Ireland.

“Our firm has a keen understanding of the motoring services and insurance sectors,” said Carlyle Group managing director Peter Garvey.

“Through the introduction of key value creation initiatives at RAC we successfully grew revenues by 83% across a four-year period.”

AA Ireland, which has traditionally provided motor and car insurance, recently announced its entry into the Irish life assurance market.

“We are excited that the AA Ireland will now be an Irish-headquartered company run by its local management team.

"Our new owners have a proven track record of success across the sectors we operate in, which will benefit the AA Ireland as we look to continue growing the company,” said Mr Nevin.

“Our focus is on delivering great products and services and our recent entry into the life-assurance market is a signal of bigger and better things to come for our members and customers in Ireland.”

CCI has previously invested in business outsourcing company Abtran and chocolate maker Lily O’Brien’s, among others.


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