September 1, 2017 / 8:02 PM / a year ago

Aon to buy real estate investment firm Townsend from Colony NorthStar -sources

NEW YORK, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Insurance broker Aon Plc will buy real estate investment management firm The Townsend Group from Colony NorthStar Inc for $475 million to expand its property investment management portfolio, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

A deal could be announced later on Friday, the sources said, asking not to be named because the news had not yet been announced. Aon and Townsend declined to comment.

NorthStar Asset Management took a majority stake in the Townsend Group from private equity firm GTCR LLC in 2015 for $380 million. NorthStar Asset Management earlier this year was part of a three-way merger with NorthStar Realty Finance Corp and private equity firm Colony Capital Inc.

The deal will boost Aon’s outsourced chief investment officer services by adding more real estate investments, according to the people. Aon’s investment arm has more than $100 billion of assets under management.

Townsend’s chief executive, Terry Ahern, will run the unit after the deal closes, the sources added.

Headquartered in London, Aon is a risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and also provides human resources solutions and outsourcing services to companies in more than 120 countries.

Aon has been tweaking its portfolio this year. In May it closed a deal to sell its benefits administration and HR outsourcing to private equity firm Blackstone Group for $4.8 billion. (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; additional reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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