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February 8, 2017
Marsh & McLennan Agency makes a platform acquisition in the Southeast by agreeing to buy J. Smith Lanier & Co. ("JSL"), which is based out of West Point, Georgia. JSL has annual revenue of approximately $130 million and 600 employees in 21 offices across Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida.
A new private equity backed property & casualty and employee benefits broker, Alera Group, was created through the merger of 24 firms across the United States. Through this merger, Alera Group will have $158 million in annual revenue and 750 employees across 15 states. Genstar Capital made an investment leading to the formation of Alera Group.
USI Insurance Services is rumored to be on the auction block according to a Reuters article. Private equity firm Onex had acquired USI in December 2012 from Goldman Sachs' private equity arm for $2.3 billion.
January 10, 2017
Risk Strategies Company continues to grow its presence in Florida with the purchase of Advanced Insurance Underwriters ("AIU"). Headquartered in Hollywood, AIU is the fourth largest independent broker in South Florida and has over 140 employees. According to Insurance Journal's list of top 100 independent P&C agencies, AIU reported approximately $24 million in revenue during 2015.
JenCap Holdings agreed to acquire NIF Group, which is a managing general agency ("MGA"), program administrator, and wholesale insurance broker based in Manhasset, New York. NIF Group has over 120 employees in six locations and manages over $185 million in annual written premiums. JenCap Holdings is backed by The Carlyle Group and was formed in 2016 to consolidate MGAs, program administrators, and insurance wholesale brokers.
December 6, 2016
AssuredPartners expands into the Pittsburgh market with the acquisition of Tucker, Johnston & Smelzer, Inc. ("TJS"), a commercial insurance and employee benefits broker with 45 employees. TJS has revenue of approximately $7.0 million and has had a presence in the Pittsburgh area going back to 1924.
November 7, 2016
Acrisure undergoes a change in ownership with its management-led buyout from Genstar Capital. Greg Williams, Acrisure's CEO and co-founder, and a consortium of investors will acquire control of the company as a result of the transaction. Acrisure has been one of the most acquisitive firms in the industry with annual revenue exceeding $670 million. Genstar acquired Acrisure in 2013 and under Genstar's ownership, Acrisure acquired over 138 insurance agencies and brokers.
October 14, 2016
OneDigital Health and Benefits continues its string of benefits acquisitions with the purchase of MRCT in the St. Louis area. OneDigital, which rebranded itself from Digital Insurance and Digital Benefit Advisors in August, has more than 800 employees and is headquartered in Atlanta.
September 12, 2016
NSM Insurance Group reunites with ABRY Partners after the private equity firm agreed to enter into a joint venture with NSM and AIG. AIG will contribute its controlling equity ownership of NSM into the joint venture, which will be majority owned by ABRY. ABRY had previously made an investment in NSM in 2012 before selling its interest to AIG in 2015.
August 8, 2016
Alliant Insurance Services expands in the Midwest with the acquisition of Mesirow Insurance Services from Mesirow Financial. Mesirow Insurance Services has annual revenue of approximately $105 million according to Business Insurance's latest list of 100 largest brokers published in July.
In the wholesale and underwriting managing sector, private equity firm Kohlberg & Company will be making a significant equity investment in U.S. Risk Insurance Group. Based in Dallas, U.S. Risk is the sixth largest property and casualty wholesaler according to the company.
July 8, 2016
Blackstone Group is rumored to be the front-runner in the auction of Acrisure according to a Reuters article. Blackstone is familiar with the insurance brokerage sector through its prior ownership of Alliant Insurance Services, which was later sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
June 3, 2016
Brown & Brown will be expanding its wholesale division with the pending acquisition of Morstan General Agency. Morstan is a wholesale MGA/MGU producing approximately $34 million of revenue in 2015. Morstan is based in Long Island, New York and has additional offices in New York City, New Jersey, and Florida.
May 6, 2016
Conner Strong & Buckelew becomes the latest broker to partner with a private equity firm after Century Equity Partners acquired a minority interest in the New Jersey-based firm. Conner Strong & Buckelew spun out of Commerce Bank in 2008 and has approximately 350 employees.
Prime Risk Partners announced that it is acquiring Old National Bank's insurance brokerage division, which has over 270 employees and a footprint predominantly in Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky. According to the bank's annual report, the insurance brokerage business had approximately $43 million in revenue during 2015.
April 8, 2016
USI Insurance Services beefs up its presence in the Midwest after announcing a couple of recent acquisitions. It picked up a bank-owned agency with the purchase of Forrest Sherer Insurance from First Financial Corporation. With two locations in Indiana, First Financial's insurance agency operations generated approximately $7 million in revenue during 2015 according to its annual report. USI also acquired Brooks Insurance Agency (based out of Toledo, Ohio) with 75 employees.
March 4, 2016
BB&T announced that it agreed to acquire insurance wholesaler, Swett & Crawford, for $500 million in cash. Swett & Crawford is expected to add more than $200 million in annual revenue to BB&T Insurance. The deal will complement BB&T Insurance's other wholesale operations including CRC Insurance Services, Crump Life Insurance Services, and managing general underwriter AmRisc.
On the retail side, Marsh & McLennan Agency made a significant acquisition in Florida with the buyout of Celedinas Insurance Group. Based in Palm Beach Gardens, Celedinas has 120 employees and approximately $22 million in annual revenue.
February 5, 2016
Acrisure is reportedly exploring a sale as Genstar Capital, the private equity firm that owns Acrisure, has hired an investment bank to gather bids for the company according to a Reuters article. Acrisure has grown rapidly through acquisitions and generated revenue of $231 million for the trailing twelve months ended September 2015.
January 11, 2016
Several banks announced deals on the buy-side to ring in the new year. First Bancorp acquired Bankingport, an insurance agency based in Sanford, North Carolina. Tompkins Financial bought Shepard, Maxwell & Hale Insurance located in Batavia, New York. Continuing up the East Coast, Eastern Bank purchased Northwestern Benefit Associates, a group benefits broker based in Boston, from Northwestern Mutual. The bank group looks to become more of a competitive force with Wells Fargo also saying that it is looking more closely at M&A to build out its industry expertise.
December 7, 2015
Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford ("CGSC") announced that it was exploring the sale of its North American business unit, which consists of wholesale broker Swett & Crawford, specialty managing general agencies including J.H. Blades & Co and Creechurch International Underwriters, and a U.S. reinsurance broker. An Insurance Journal article provides more color on the underlying reasons for the sale, which include reducing corporate debt.
November 6, 2015
Another private equity-backed insurance broker changes ownership with Kelso & Company acquiring a majority interest in Risk Strategies Company ("RSC") from Kohlberg & Company. RSC had 2014 revenue of $98 million according to Business Insurance's 2015 list of 100 largest brokers. Headquartered in Boston, RSC has acquired several firms during the year including Northwest Comprehensive, Dubraski & Associates Insurance Services, and MacCorkle Insurance Service.
October 2, 2015
The latest industry rumor involves Confie and its private equity owner ABRY Partners exploring a sale of the personal lines and small commercial insurance broker. According to a Reuters article, Confie is expected to generate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization ("EBITDA") of $134 million this year. ABRY Partners acquired a majority interest in the firm, then known as Confie Seguros, in 2012.
USI Insurance Services announced its first acquisition in North Carolina with the purchase of the employee benefits business of Benefit Controls of the Carolinas. Benefit Controls, which is headquartered in Charlotte, was previously ranked in Business Insurance's largest 100 brokers list and at that time reported 2012 revenue of $23 million.
September 8, 2015
Patriot National joins the parade of acquirers within the insurance intermediary sector. Since its initial public offering in January of this year, the company has acquired managing general agents, program administrators, and specialty insurance brokers with its most recent deal in the sector involving R.C.A. Insurance Group, a property and liability program administrator to the hospitality industry. Patriot National is a provider of technology and outsourcing solutions to the insurance industry and has a market capitalization of over $450 million.
August 9, 2015
M&A activity continues its hot streak during the summer with some private equity-backed brokers making the news as either sellers or buyers including:
* Business Insurance - 100 Largest Brokers of U.S. Business - July 20, 2015
** Insurance Journal - Top 100 Independent Property/Casualty Agencies - August 3, 2015
July 7, 2015
There are no signs of summer doldrums within the M&A market as a flurry of deals made the news. Notable deals include:
* Business Insurance - 100 Largest Brokers of U.S. Business - July 21, 2014
June 5, 2015
Marsh & McLennan Agency announced the acquisition of MHBT, significantly expanding its operations in Texas. MHBT, which is based in Dallas and has four other locations in Texas, has revenue of $76 million and 350 employees.
May 4, 2015
Ascension Insurance strengthens its California presence with the acquisition of Belvedere Pacific Insurance Services, an employee benefits firm in the San Francisco area. Ascension, backed by private equity firms Parthenon Capital Partners and Century Capital Partners, has over 430 employees and revenue exceeding $75 million.
April 6, 2015
Some significant deals outside of the retail agency arena made the headlines recently. AIG agreed to acquire a controlling stake in NSM Insurance Group ("NSM"), a managing general agent ("MGA") and insurance program administrator, from ABRY Partners and NSM management. NSM is headquartered in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and has 300 employees. ABRY Partners, a private equity firm based out of Boston, made an investment in NSM in January 2012.
BB&T Insurance announced that it was increasing its partnership interest in AmRisc, a managing general underwriter ("MGU") with gross written premiums of almost $1 billion. In a related development, BB&T agreed to sell American Coastal Insurance Company to AmRisc's management team.
CRC Insurance Services, a wholesale insurance subsidiary of BB&T Insurance, also agreed to acquire NAPCO. Based in Iselin, New Jersey, NAPCO is a wholesale broker of commercial property catastrophe insurance coverage.
March 9, 2015
Willis Group Holdings sells off another one of its offices with the divestiture of its Omaha, Nebraska-based operations. In this purchase, Holmes Murphy & Associates picks up a retail insurance brokerage office that specializes in servicing college-based student organizations. This deal follows another transaction where Willis sold its Schaumburg, Illinois office to DSP Insurance Services in January.
February 9, 2015
The blockbuster deal of January is Alliant Insurance Services' acquisition of QBE US Agencies, which is comprised of three specialty managing general agents serving the community association, transportation, and earthquake markets. Total potential sale consideration is approximately $300 million made up of a $217 million up-front cash payment and a five year earn-out subject to performance-based measures.
Regional brokers making the headlines in January include the following:
January 6, 2015
Hub International continues its expansion in Florida with the recent acquisition of Smith Watson Parker Insurance, whose main office is located in Hollywood. During 2014, Hub also acquired Kuykendall Gardner (based in Winter Park) and Ballard Insurance Agency (based in Melbourne). Hub established its presence in Florida with the platform acquisition of Connelly, Carlisle, Fields & Nichols (based in Clearwater) in October 2013.
December 4, 2014
Banks appear to be more acquisitive in the insurance agency space compared to prior years. Some bank transactions announced during 2014 include the following deals:
November 8, 2014
Some regional brokers are providing added competition to the national consolidators in the hunt for insurance agency acquisitions. In just the past 30 days, the following brokers announced these transactions:
* Business Insurance - 100 Largest Brokers of U.S. Business - July 21, 2014
October 3, 2014
Risk Strategies Company announced that it had merged with DeWitt Stern Group creating an organization with almost $100 million in revenue. DeWitt Stern, based in New York, has approximately 140 employees with specialties in fine art, entertainment & media, and executive liability insurance. This merger builds on top of two purchases Risk Strategies Company had made earlier this year with its acquisition of both Singer Nelson Charlmers and DataRisk. Risk Strategies Company is backed by Kohlberg & Company, a private equity firm based in New York.
September 5, 2014
Willis Group Holdings divests some additional offices with its agreement to sell seven of its United States retail locations to USI Insurance Services. The offices involved are Wilmington, Delaware; Vero Beach, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Moline, Illinois; Wichita, Kansas; and both Cheyenne and Mills, Wyoming. This transaction comes on the heels of the sale of some of Willis' Texas offices (see July 8, 2014 post) and Willis' Northern New England operations (see May 2, 2014 post).
August 8, 2014
Edgewood Partners Insurance Center ("EPIC") significantly adds to its revenue base with the acquisition of Jenkins Insurance Services ("Jenkins") from Leavitt Group Enterprises and existing shareholders of Jenkins. Jenkins, with 160 employees and $34 million of revenue, has offices in California and Nevada. EPIC currently generates over $150 million in revenue and is looking to grow this number to $250 million by 2018 according to its press release announcement.
On the wholesale side, Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services acquired Highland Capital Brokerage ("Highland") for approximately $42 million. Highland is a wholesale broker providing life insurance, annuities, and long-term care solutions to investment and insurance providers. Highland had revenue of $46 million for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2014.
July 8, 2014
Integro accelerates its acquisition pace with a couple of insurance broker purchases in California during the month of June. It acquired Daugherty Insurance Services, a multi-lines retail agency based in Stockton, and Lugo & Associates Insurance Services, an employee benefits specialist based in Newport Beach.
Meanwhile, Higginbotham continues its expansion in Texas with the purchase of a portion of Willis of Texas, Inc.'s operations. The transaction involves 35 employees in San Antonio, McAllen, Victoria, and Tyler. Higginbotham has approximately 650 employees and 23 offices throughout the state of Texas.
June 9, 2014
Marsh & McLennan Agency acquired the largest independent insurance agency in North Carolina through its purchase of Senn Dunn Insurance. Senn Dunn has annual revenue of approximately $30 million and 155 employees with offices in Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte, High Point, and Wilmington.
A couple of regional brokers made acquisitions on the East Coast as well:
May 2, 2014
Cross Insurance continues to grow its presence in the New England area with the acquisition of Troy, Pires & Allen Insurance. Cross Insurance had previously acquired the northern New England operations of Willis taking on its approximately 70 employees earlier this year. It also purchased The Insurance Exchange and The Driscoll Agency during 2014 bringing its acquisition total to four so far this year. With offices in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Florida, Cross Insurance has acquired more than 100 insurance agencies since inception in 1954.
April 4, 2014
BB&T Insurance recently announced a couple of acquisitions after having been on the sidelines since its purchase of insurance wholesaler Crump in the early part of 2012. The bank-owned insurance broker agreed to acquire Woodbury, a multi-lines insurance agency with more than 50 employees and offices in North Carolina and South Carolina. It also bought Caledonian Insurance Group, an aviation insurance specialist based near Seattle with 24 employees.
March 14, 2014
AssuredPartners continues its aggressive acquisition spree in 2014 racking up 8 purchases of insurance agencies during the first two months of the year. Some of its more notable transactions during the past twelve months include the acquisition of Lee F. Murphy (based in St. Paul, Minnesota with $8 million in revenue), AHM Financial Group's insurance business (based in St. Louis, Missouri with $17 million in revenue), Leonard Insurance Services (based in North Canton, Ohio with $10 million in revenue), Commercial Insurance Services (based in West Virginia with $10 million in revenue), and AirSure Limited (based in Golden, Colorado with $13 million in revenue). From its founding in 2011, AssuredPartners has rapidly grown to approximately $325 million in annualized revenue.
February 7, 2014
A flurry of M&A announcements were made over the past few weeks providing a busy start to 2014. Some notable acquisitions include:
January 3, 2014
USI Insurance Services picked up a former top 100 insurance broker in Van Gilder Insurance Corporation expanding its presence in the Rocky Mountain area. Van Gilder, based out of Denver, Colorado, had approximately $20 million in revenue according to the latest figures provided in Business Insurance's 100 largest brokers list (dated July 16, 2012). In addition, USI purchased Molton, Allen & Williams, a multi-lines insurance agency headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.
In other developments, bank acquisitions of insurance brokers appear to be picking up from depressed levels. BancorpSouth agreed to acquire GEM Insurance Agencies, which has approximately $9 million in revenue and is based out of Houston, Texas. Old National Bancorp announced that it was acquiring a book of business from Wells Fargo Insurance's Evansville, Indiana office as well.
December 10, 2013
Edgewood Partners Insurance Center ("EPIC") has a new private equity owner after The Carlyle Group announced that it agreed to acquire a controlling equity stake in the company. Stone Point Capital, which funded the startup of EPIC in 2007, will remain an investor in the company. Headquartered in California, EPIC has approximately $80 million in annual revenue.
In the wholesale and reinsurance space, AmWINS Group announced that it is acquiring Bliss & Glennon and eReinsure from Fortegra Financial Corporation. Bliss & Glennon is an excess and surplus ("E&S") lines wholesale insurance broker and managing general agency ("MGA") and was ranked by Business Insurance in September 2013 as the 10th largest P&C wholesaler with $229 million in premium. eReinsure provides Internet-based technology solutions for managing the placement of facultative reinsurance.
November 6, 2013
Ryan Specialty Group announced another insurance wholesale broker acquisition with its agreement to merge with Westrope. Headquartered in Kansas City, Westrope is the 7th largest wholesale broker in the U.S. according to Business Insurance.
In the rumor mill, Edgewood Partners Holdings is reportedly being shopped around by its private equity owner, Stone Point Capital, according to a Bloomberg article. Edgewood (based in San Mateo, California) has over $80 million in revenue as listed on its website.
October 4, 2013
A couple of significant transactions outside of the traditional retail brokerage space made the news in September. Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group ("JLT") announced that it will be acquiring Towers Watson's reinsurance brokerage business for $250 million in cash. Towers Watson's reinsurance brokerage business generated revenue of $166 million and pretax profit of $26 million for the year ended June 30, 2013, making it the fourth largest reinsurance broker in the world. An article by The Insurance Insider that provides background on the events leading up to the deal can be viewed here by way of SNL.
In the wholesale arena, Ryan Specialty Group ("RSG") announced that it acquired S.H. Smith & Company, a wholesale broker with more than 90 employees. RSG is a holding company consisting of managing general agents ("MGAs"), managing general underwriters ("MGUs"), wholesale operations, a Lloyd's specialty insurer, and other entities offering specialty services to agents, brokers, and insurance carriers. RSG was formed by Patrick Ryan who previously was the founder and CEO of Aon.
September 6, 2013
Two more top 100 brokers officially announced a change in ownership as previously reported rumors became reality during the month of August. Hub International agreed to be acquired by Hellman & Friedman in a transaction valuing the company at approximately $4.4 billion. It was earlier reported (see May 3, 2013 post) that Hub's owners, Apax Partners and Morgan Stanley Principal Investments, had begun exploring a sale in April. Hub is projected to have 2013 revenue of $1.2 billion.
Meanwhile, Arthur J. Gallagher announced that it was acquiring Bollinger from Evercore Capital Partners. Total gross consideration was $312 million in cash and stock with net consideration being approximately $277 million once the value of tax assets acquired is factored in. Rumors had begun surfacing in February (see February 6, 2013 post) that Evercore had begun the sale process of Bollinger. The New Jersey-based broker is expected to generate over $100 million in revenue and approximately $40 million of EBITDAC (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and the change in estimated acquisition earnout payables).
August 3, 2013
According to a Crain's Chicago Business article, Arthur J. Gallagher is in advanced discussions to acquire Bollinger Insurance. Bloomberg had previously reported (see February 6, 2013 post) that the owner of Bollinger, Evercore Partners, had begun gathering bids for the New Jersey-based insurance broker. The Bloomberg report mentioned that AssuredPartners, owned by GTCR, was also another top suitor in the bidding process.
July 8, 2013
Risk Strategies Company ("RSC") becomes the latest insurance broker to partner with a private equity firm after announcing that Kohlberg & Company has acquired a majority interest in the firm. Headquartered in Boston, RSC had 2011 revenue of $41 million according to Business Insurance's 100 largest brokers list. As part of the transaction, Roger Egan will join RSC as Executive Chairman after having previous stints as CEO of Integro and President at Marsh Inc.
June 12, 2013
Brown & Brown's acquisition of Beecher Carlson Holdings from Austin Ventures continues the trend of private equity backed brokers changing ownership. Beecher Carlson had net revenue of $105.6 million in 2012, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. This transaction is expected to close in July of 2013.
May 3, 2013
A month after National Financial Partners ("NFP") announced that it was exploring a sale, the firm agreed to be acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners in a transaction valuing NFP's equity at approximately $1.3 billion. This private equity transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, another top 100 insurance broker may change hands as Hub International is reported to be in the initial stages of exploring a sale. Apax Partners and Morgan Stanley Principal Investments, the current owners of Hub, took the broker private in 2007. Hub had 2011 revenue of approximately $571 million according to Business Insurance's ranking of the 100 largest U.S. brokers.
April 5, 2013
National Financial Partners ("NFP") announced in the middle of March that it was exploring the potential sale of the company as a result of private equity overtures. TPG and Madison Dearborn Partners are currently rumored to be the final bidders for the company. NFP, which provides benefits, insurance, and wealth management services, had revenue of $1.1 billion during 2012.
March 4, 2013
Digital Insurance, a specialist in employee benefits for small and mid-sized companies, had an acquisitive month in February with the purchase of three benefits firms. Digital, itself, was recently acquired by Fidelity National Financial in January. Digital had approximately $50 million in revenue during 2012 and acquired 18 benefits agencies during 2011 and 2012.
Private equity activity also continues with Genstar Capital's acquisition of Acrisure, which is based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. With a footprint primarily focused on the Midwest, Acrisure had 2010 revenue1 of $29 million and was previously owned by GCP Capital Partners. Genstar is no stranger to the insurance brokerage sector having recently sold Confie Seguros in November 2012.
1 Business Insurance - 100 Largest Brokers of U.S. Business - July 18, 2011
February 6, 2013
Rumors have been floating around that Evercore Capital Partners, the private equity owner of Bollinger, is exploring a sale of the top 100 insurance broker. Bollinger had approximately $118 million in 2011 revenue according to Business Insurance.
Meanwhile, another private equity firm, Lightyear Capital announced in January the closing of its controlling investment in Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford ("CGSC"). CGSC had revenue of $344 million and EBITDA of $69 million in 2011.
December 27, 2012
There was a flurry of deals during November and December as sellers were motivated in part to take advantage of current capital gains tax rates. As a result, several top 100 insurance brokers changed hands including:
In the middle market, Marsh & McLennan Agency continued its acquisition spree acquiring various agencies throughout the country such as Howalt+McDowell Insurance ($16 million in revenue and based in South Dakota), Protector Group ($14 million in revenue and based in Massachusetts), and Brower Insurance Agency ($24 million in revenue and based in Ohio).
On the wholesale side, AmWINS Group announced it was acquiring Gresham & Associates, which was ranked by Business Insurance as the sixth-largest managing general agent. AmWINS itself is under new ownership having been recapitalized by New Mountain Capital earlier this year.
1 Business Insurance - 100 Largest Brokers of U.S. Business - July 16, 2012
2 Insurance Journal - Top 100 Privately Held Property/Casualty Agencies - August 6, 2012
October 11, 2012
National Financial Partners ("NFP") continues the buildout of its property & casualty ("P&C") insurance business with the acquisition of Lane McVicker, a personal lines P&C provider to high net worth clients. Lane McVicker, having approximately $8 million of annualized revenue, was a portfolio company of Stone Point Capital. NFP had previously acquired Lapre Scali & Company Insurance Services in the middle of last year to serve as a platform for its P&C business. Lapre Scali had approximately $21 million in annualized revenue at the time of acquisition.
September 16, 2012
USI Insurance Services hasn't let rumors of its sale by a Goldman Sachs' private equity fund get in the way of its acquisition efforts. It picked up two significant bank-owned insurance brokerage operations, one from TD Bank having $58.2 million in revenue and one from BBVA Compass having $26.7 million in revenue, during the past few months.
July 17, 2012
The decision by the Supreme Court to uphold most of the healthcare reform law passed by Congress will likely lead to further acquisition activity of benefits firms. Some owners of benefits firms may decide that they need to align themselves with larger firms that have additional resources and capabilities to deal with the complexities of this healthcare reform legislation. Some views on the future role of insurance agencies in the group benefits business can be viewed here with East Coast and West Coast perspectives.
May 1, 2012
A synopsis of acquisition activity by the three primary groups of acquirers within the insurance brokerage sector is summarized below.
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