General insurance provider AXA UK has confirmed the 100% share capital acquisition of broking firm Smart & Cook, making it the second largest small to medium enterprise broker in the UK.

Under the terms of the deal, AXA UK is purchasing the entire share capital of Smart & Cook through its subsidiary Venture Preference (VPL), which also houses the recently acquired Stuart Alexander and Layton Blackham.

Paul Meehan, group chief executive of Smart & Cook, will remain in the same position and will join Stuart Reid and Chris Blackham on the board of VPL, where each will be CEOs with complementary responsibilities. The three companies will operate under the same structure, retaining independent broking status.

The purchase of Smart & Cook represents the third acquisition by AXA in recent months as it realizes a strategic intent to become a national force in commercial broking.

Peter Hubbard, chief executive of AXA Insurance, said: This purchase is a significant development for AXA and the UK broker market as it is the first major consolidator to be acquired in the sector. We have a strategic goal of strengthening our distribution network in terms of business profile, geographical reach and being able to diversify our sources of revenue. Today’s acquisition of Smart & Cook is an excellent fit because it enables us to realize significant synergies by combining the three acquired businesses and perfectly complements our growth plans.