Daily News: January 19, 2015

Associated to Acquire Risk, Employee Benefits Consulting Firm

Associated Banc-Corp announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Ahmann & Martin, a risk and benefits consulting firm in Minnesota, through a merger with and into Associated’s subsidiary Associated Financial Group. The transaction is expected to close next month.

The transaction is valued at approximately $48 million with the opportunity to increase the consideration by $8 million should certain contingencies be met over a defined period.

“The addition of this fast-growing and respected company to the Associated family enhances our ability to offer clients unique, comprehensive solutions to meet their insurance and financial risk management needs,” said Associated president and CEO, Philip B. Flynn. “As we look forward, we will continue to seek ways in which we can prudently grow our capabilities and drive greater client and shareholder value.”

According to Flynn, a core benefit of the new combination is the opportunity for clients to centralize management of their financial risks with one valued partner.

Management teams from the two firms have known each other for several years, providing a unique and compelling opportunity to join two premier firms with complementary strengths into an even more vibrant organization going forward.

“There are many aspects to this new partnership that will contribute to our continuing success,” said William M. Bohn, Associated Banc-Corp EVP and head of Private Client & Institutional Services, which includes Associated Financial Group. “Perhaps the most significant are the client-centric values and common culture inherent in both organizations. Our shared priority on client relationships and innovative strategic solutions creates a powerful value proposition as we go forward together.”

As part of the proposed transaction, several key Ahmann & Martin executives will assume leadership roles at Associated Financial Group and will be responsible for the thoughtful integration and expansion of the business. Dean Hildebrandt, the current CEO of Ahmann & Martin, will assume the role of president and CEO of the newly combined firm. He will report to Bohn who will serve as chairman of Associated Financial Group.

Associated Banc-Corp has total assets of $26 billion and is one of the top 50, publicly traded, U.S. bank holding companies.