Blackstone's Alight eyes cloud takeovers after $4.8B deal

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(Bloomberg) — The benefits business that Blackstone Group LP acquired from Aon Plc last month is looking for takeover opportunities to expand in cloud services and data capabilities.

Chris Michalak, CEO of the unit, said he’s also seeking deals that could help advise clients on health care, wealth and retirement planning. The Chicago-based business announced on Tuesday that its new name is “Alight.”

“There’s lots of change in the industry with consolidation that’s been happening,” Michalak. “We see a massive amount of growth opportunity in our cloud deployment and cloud services business.”

New York-based Blackstone agreed to buy Michalak’s unit from Aon for as much as $4.8 billion to serve about 15% of the working population in the U.S., across more than 1,400 companies, for health benefits, retirement and human resources. The business was previously tied to Hewitt Associates, which Aon acquired in 2010.

Alight is treading in a cloud-services space that’s dominated by Silicon Valley, with companies including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Oracle Corp. expanding businesses that offer computing and storage power from remote sites. Michalak said Alight already works with technology firms including Tableau Software Inc. and Inc.

Michalak said the firm is expanding technology and advisory capabilities, “mostly to offer additional health and wealth solutions to help people manage their work and their life.”

Aon, the London-based insurance broker, is maintaining a relationship with Blackstone and Alight as the private equity firm improves processing centers and technology for the business. Funds affiliated with Blackstone paid $4.3 billion in cash and agreed to provide as much as $500 million more based on future performance.

“Blackstone brings, as you might expect, a really strong capability there to enhance our ability to be in the market and look at different things,” Michalak said. “We’ll continue to keep our eye on the market.”

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