Lightyear Sells NAU Group to QBE

Lightyear Capital has completed the sale of NAU Group to QBE Holdings Inc. QBE has made a cash payment of $565 million. Also, NAU stockholders will receive a $30 million cash dividend prior to the closing. NAU, of Ramsey, Minn., is a leading writer and manager of multi-peril crop insurance. New York-based Lightyear is a private equity firm.


Lightyear Capital LLC (“Lightyear”), a New York-based private equity firm focused on financial services investing, today announced that it has completed the sale of The NAU Group (“NAU”) to QBE Holdings, Inc. (“QBE”), a subsidiary of QBE Insurance Group Ltd of Australia.  The transaction was completed through a merger whereby NAU, an industry leader in the market for crop insurance in the U.S., became a wholly-owned subsidiary of QBE.  As consideration for the merger, QBE made a cash payment of $565 million and in addition, the stockholders of NAU received a cash dividend of $30 million immediately prior to closing. 

Lightyear originally invested in NAU in May, 2005 and since then has worked closely with NAU’s management team to build the company’s market leadership in this complex but essential segment of the insurance sector by effectively combining state-of-the-art technology with excellent business judgment and acumen.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this investment in NAU,” said Lightyear’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Donald B. Marron. “The NAU transaction exemplifies our investment approach designed to build specialized middle market financial services companies into true market leaders and achieve extraordinary shareholder returns.”   

Under Lightyear’s ownership, NAU rose from the seventh to third largest U.S. crop insurer, with a current market share position of 11 percent. David W. Glenn, Managing Director of Lightyear said, “We focus on specialty financial services companies possessing competitive advantages that enable transformative growth and NAU is a great example of this. QBE is a strong partner for NAU and we look forward to seeing it continue its growth in the years to come.”

Lightyear and NAU received financial advice on this transaction from BofA Merrill Lynch and SFRi LLC, and legal advice from Sullivan and Cromwell LLP.