"At a time when there are lots of fears and questions on the potential protectionism and border adjustment tax," Lescure said, "being exposed to small and medium companies is a safer way of exposing yourself to the U.S. economy." Valhalla, New York-based USI had net debt of about $1.82 billion as of Dec. 31 and generated 2016 earnings of $353 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. USI provides insurance and employee benefit-related products to smaller U.S. companies. Its staff of 4,400 operates from 140 offices throughout the United States. Canadian private equity firm Onex bought USI in December 2012 for $2.3 billion from Goldman Sachs Group Inc's ( GS.N ) private equity arm, funding $702 million of that through equity and borrowing the rest, with debt placed on the company. The biggest deal in the insurance brokerage sector last year was the merger of Willis Group Holdings and Towers Watson. It created Willis Towers Watson Plc ( WLTW.O ), a company with a $17 billion market capitalization.
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