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American Stock Transfer & Trust Company (AST), founded in 1971, is the largest independent stock transfer company in the United States. AST is headquartered in New York City and services over 1400 corporate accounts.

In order to diversity their business, offer additional services to their sizeable client base, and leverage their skills managing a processing business, Michael and George Karfunkel, the principal owners of AST, decided to acquire a benefits administration firm. Bicknell Advisory Services, Inc. was engaged to search for appropriate targets and advise on a transaction. As a specialist in this market segment, Bicknell Advisory was able to present several targets including the Preferred Benefits Corporation (PBC), a subsidiary of UNUM Corporation, headquartered in Portland, Maine. Although UNUM Corporation initiated an auction process to effect the sale of PBC, Bicknell Advisory was able to establish AST as the preferred buyer early in the process, thereby enhancing AST's negotiating position.

Located in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, PBC designs, administer and markets defined contribution plans to small and mid-size companies. PBC employs 55 people.

Engaged by AST in late October, 1991, Bicknell Advisory introduced PBC in November and negotiated a letter of intent with UNUM by March. Following due diligence, the transaction was closed effective May 7th.

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