Trimont Financial acquires Western Financial Group and Western Life Assurance from Desjardins

On July 1, 2017, Trimont Financial Ltd. (Trimont), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. (Wawanesa), acquired Western Financial Group Inc. and Western Life Assurance Co. (collectively, Western) from Desjardins Financial Corp. Inc. (Desjardins), a Desjardins Group subsidiary. 

Valued at approximately $775 million, the transaction includes Western’s primary business units: its brokerage network, Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions and Western Life Assurance. Wawanesa is one of the largest property and casualty insurers in Canada, with $3 billion in annual revenues and assets of more than $9 billion. Trimont provides direct support to local brokers to assist with succession planning, growth, capital investment and other needs. Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets close to $268 billion. 

Wawanesa/Trimont was represented in-house by Evan Johnston and Ed Kroeger and by MLT Aikins LLP, with a team led by David Filmon (M&A) and including Richmond Bayes, Doug Stewart, Jordan Riese, Paul Tascona, Sacha Nelson and Steven Ferreira (M&A), Nigel Thompson (corporate/commercial), Michael Zeismann (tax), Shandra Czarnecki (employment), Michelle Redekopp and Peter Anandranistakis (benefits) and Greg Fleetwood (litigation), and with respect to regulatory matters by Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP with a team that included Brian Reeve, Gordon Goodman, Sean McGurran and Marisa Coggin (insurance – corporate and regulatory) and Chris Hersh and Belinda Chiu (competition).

Desjardins was represented in-house by Luc Boucher and Philippe Tommei, and by Stikeman Elliott LLP with a team that included Maxime Turcotte, Julien Michaud, Julien Robitaille-Rodriguez, Carla L’Écuyer, Samantha Allen and John Simpson (M&A), Stuart Carruthers (regulatory), Franco Gadoury and Éric Levesque (tax), Michael Kilby (competition), Bertrand Ménard (M&A and real estate/financing), Charles Nadeau (litigation), Natasha VandenHoven (benefits), and Stephanie Weschler, Stephanie Pasternyk and Kris Noonan (employment).