Aon to buy real estate investment firm Townsend from Colony NorthStar

The US Bank Tower and the AON Corporation building are pictured as part of the Los Angeles, California skyline February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Insurance broker Aon Plc AON.N said on Friday it would buy real estate investment management firm The Townsend Group from Colony NorthStar Inc CLNS.N for $475 million, helping expand its property investment management portfolio.

Aon has been tweaking its portfolio this year. In May it closed a deal to sell its benefits administration and HR outsourcing to private equity firm Blackstone Group BX.N for $4.8 billion.

Headquartered in London, Aon is a risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and also provides human resources solutions and outsourcing services to companies in more than 120 countries.

The Townsend deal will boost Aon’s outsourced chief investment officer services by adding more real estate investments. The company’s investment arm has more than $100 billion of assets under management.

Townsend’s chief executive, Terry Ahern, will continue to lead real estate and real asset investment services, Aon said.

Reuters reported the deal earlier on Friday.

NorthStar Asset Management took a majority stake in the Townsend Group from private equity firm GTCR LLC in 2015 for $380 million. NorthStar Asset Management earlier this year was part of a three-way merger with NorthStar Realty Finance Corp and private equity firm Colony Capital Inc.

Morgan Stanley was the financial adviser for the Aon deal, Colony NorthStar said.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; additional reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Sriraj Kalluvila