Lightyear Capital Completes Sale of Leading Crop Insurer NAU
New York, NY (July 1, 2010) – 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.

Lightyear is a private equity investment firm providing buyout and growth capital to companies in the financial services industry. Based in New York, Lightyear, through its affiliated funds, has managed approximately $3 billion of committed capital with investments across the financial services spectrum, including asset management, banking, brokerage, financial technology, insurance, leasing, related business services, and other sectors within financial services. Lightyear brings unique strengths and discipline to its investment process, as well as operating, transaction, and strategic management experience, along with significant contacts and resources beyond capital. The senior team of investment professionals each has approximately 25 years of financial services-related experience and includes Chris Casciato, David Cynn, David Glenn, Stewart Gross, Thierry Ho, Donald Marron, Richard Sterne, and Mark Vassallo.

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NAU, headquartered in Ramsey, Minnesota, is the third largest writer and manager of Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) in the United States. MPCI is a Department of Agriculture program that provides protection against unavoidable causes of crop loss. NAU operates 10 offices across the US and has over 1,600 independent agents. The company also maintains an A- rating from A.M. Best.

Media Contacts:
Elliot Sloane
Sloane & Company

Aleksandra Croft
Sloane & Company