Capita confirms plans to buy Bluefin's employee benefits consultancy business from AXA

Outsourcing giant takes next step into health and risk benefits sector

Capita took another step into the health insurance and protection industry today as it confirmed it is to acquire Bluefin’s employee benefits consulting business from AXA.

The deal – AXA is selling Bluefin Corporate Consulting for a cash consideration of £50m on a cash-free, debt-free basis – will see the insurer retain the Bluefin trading name. Bluefin’s other operations, including Bluefin Insurance Group, which is core to AXA’s Commercial Lines operation, and Bluefin Personal Consulting, which provides wealth management services, are not part of the transaction.

The proposed acquisition follows news that Capita is to acquire Aviva’s UK occupational health business and signals the organisation’s intent to gain a stronger foothold in Britain’s flexible benefits and health and risk benefits market, as well as investment consultancy and the insured pensions sector.

Bluefin Corporate Consulting chief executive Nick Burns will become chief executive of the combined business, while Mike Addenbrooke will become non-executive chairman of Capita Hartshead.

Paul Evans, group chief executive of AXA UK and Ireland, said that following the sale of the AXA Life business in 2010, and in particular the corporate pensions business, the consulting services offered by Bluefin Corporate Consulting were "no longer aligned to our long-term strategy and core lines of business".

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2012.

Bluefin Corporate Consulting employs 548 people, principally in London and across eight further offices throughout the UK.

Capita provides a range of services to and on behalf of the public sector, from IT services to recruitment. It also has a property and infrastructure consultancy and a range of other business interests.

In 2010, Capita acquired Insurance Medical Group, a company which provides medico-legal reporting, diagnostics and physiotherapy and treatment services. That acquisition followed the acquisitions of screening and reporting firm Premier Medical Group and First Assist, a provider of employee assistance programmes and absence management services.

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