Growth Story: Stackhouse Poland


Financial Services

Investment Date

December 2014

At a glance

  • 15 acquisitions

  • 70% earnings growth

  • 94% average renewal rates


Stackhouse Poland was a specialist provider of insurance distribution to the high net worth and specialist commercial lines markets. An attractive niche for a number of reasons. Not least, the highly fragmented nature of the sector provided ample opportunity for intelligent consolidation as well as organic expansion. Synova’s familiarity with the sector, and expertise in acquisition-led growth, meant we were well-placed to support the next stage of SP’s development.

SP’s strong reputation, market-leading renewal rates, and robust revenue streams, attracted us early on. Having reached out to the founders, we spent three years building a relationship with the already-strong team. In conjunction with our investment, SP welcomed in Tim Johnson as their new CEO – an appointment that had a hugely positive impact on the Company’s acquisition capabilities.

We knew from the start that the building blocks for success were already there at SP. Together we felt we could take things to the next level.


We began by investing heavily in the Company’s infrastructure including the tech stack, the people, and a dedicated integration team to assist with acquisitions, which were central to future growth. Indeed, over our four-year partnership, SP made 15 successful acquisitions, adding nearly £10m to the Company’s earnings.

But acquisitions weren’t our only path to growth. Over the course of our investment, SP also evidenced substantial organic growth, adding a further £5m in earnings. This was achieved by the addition of new sector specialisms (particularly in the commercial lines insurance market), and the expansion of their distribution channels.

Further value was added by improving penetration of the ultra-high net worth market – something made possible by Synova’s prominent global network.


It’s always sad to say goodbye, but it’s equally rewarding to see how far we’ve travelled with our partners at the point of exit. During our ownership, SP’s revenue soared, jumping from £16.2m to £55m.

We exited to AJ Gallagher via a targeted and highly competitive auction process in December 2019 - generating a 5.6x return – an extremely strong measure of four very successful years.

“I have enjoyed every minute of my four-year journey with Synova; their knowledge of our industry, their understanding of the important building blocks of growth, and the discipline that comes from having a focused private equity partner has been invaluable. Most importantly, we have learnt from each other along the way.”

– Tim Johnson, CEO

What next?

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