ABRY-backed Confie shelves auction; co-founder Mordy Rothberg to exit

ABRY Partners is no longer seeking a buyer for Confie Seguros, the insurance broker it has twice tried to shop in the past three years, two sources said.

The Boston private equity firm is now looking to refinance Confie, the sources said.

The Huntington Beach, California, broker is seeking a new $220 million loan while it refinances $261 million in existing debt, Moody’s Investors Service said in an Oct. 16 rating action.

Debtwire previously reported news of Confie’s refinancing.

The shelved process comes as Mordy Rothberg, Confie’s co-founder and executive chairman, is stepping down at year-end, according to an Oct. 22 email that he sent to colleagues and was seen by Buyouts.

“I am looking forward to taking some time off for the first time in 23 years,” Rothberg wrote. “At some point I will start a new venture as I love building companies. Until then, I wish you all the best.”

Rothberg, who is based in the metro New York area, said he typically traveled 50 out of 52 weeks a year. While he loved to travel, such a schedule was unsustainable, he said in an interview with Buyouts.

Rothberg said he would seek to start another company, possibly in insurance. “I’m very much looking forward to my next opportunity,” he said.

Rothberg declined comment on Confie’s attempts to sell itself. The personal-lines-brokerage landscape is “extremely fragmented (especially non-standard) and there are still many acquisitions opportunities for Confie, as well as DeNovo store opportunities,” Rothberg wrote in the email.

Confie has a great management and leadership team, Rothberg told Buyouts. “I expect to hear great things regarding Confie in the future,” he said.

Founded in 2008, Confie provides personal and small commercial-lines insurance. Its main product is non-standard auto insurance to underserved communities.

The company has pursued a rollup strategy to grow and has made more than 130 acquisitions since it was formed. It generated about $477 million in 2018 revenue, Moody’s said.

ABRY has owned Confie for nearly six years, buying it from Genstar Capital in 2012. ABRY previously tried unsuccessfully to sell Confie in 2015.

Confie most recently was up for sale over the summer, with Evercore advising on the process, Buyouts reported in August.

The process had issues. Confie’s rollup strategy had some bidders wondering whether there were still enough logical acquisitions with scale for the company to move forward, sources told Buyouts.

Confie’s price expectations were also too high, sources said. The company was seeking bids in the double-digit range, such as 10x-12x, or $1.5 billion, while potential buyer interest ranged 8x to 9x, Buyouts reported.

Executives for ABRY and Confie could not be reached for comment.

Action Item: Mordy Rothberg can be reached at mordy@confie.com.