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In the first half of the year, agency mergers and acquisitions in the financial industry decreased by 24% to 359 deals due to higher capital costs. Private equity-backed brokers led the buying activity, and property-and-casualty insurance agencies were the most common sellers. Some firms increased their deal activity, and there are opportunities for stronger firms with stable balance sheets amid rising interest rates.
Blackstone Group LP is set to invest $150 million in London's Astaris Capital Management, splitting the funds between the firm's existing hedge fund and a new capital pool. Astaris, founded in 2020 by Martin Beck, focuses on event-driven credit and equity investments in Europe. With over $300 million in assets and a track record of delivering an average annual gain of 17%, Astaris has gained recognition. Blackstone's investment comes from its...