Global insurer Chubb Ltd. today issued a statement that it is “disappointed that The Hartford chose not to engage in discussions regarding a strategic business combination.”
However, the disappointed insurer said it will continue to seek opportunities for acquisitions.
Chubb’s comment came in response to the statement from Hartford Financial Services last week that its board of directors had unanimously rejected rival insurer Chubb’s unsolicited proposal to acquire The Hartford for $23.24 billion. The Hartford said its board determined that entering into discussions regarding a strategic transaction “would not be in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.”
Chubb said that although it is disappointed that The Hartford “chose not to engage in discussions regarding a strategic business combination,” it will remain a “disciplined acquiror with an uncompromising focus on the fair value of any institution that we could acquire.”
On March 11, Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg proposed an acquisition of Hartford Financial Services for about $23.2 billion in cash and stock in what would have been one of the industry’s biggest deals in years. The offer valued Hartford at $65 a share.
A combination “would be strategically and financially compelling for both sets of shareholders and other constituencies,” Chubb said in a statement on its offer, before receiving any response from The Hartford.
Analysts and observers have been generally positive about the idea of the buyout, suggesting the combined company would offer both value and significant marketplace clout. Several indicated they thought Chubb’s $65 per share opening bid was low.
Bloomberg has since reported that German insurer Allianz SE is talking privately about a possible bid for The Hartford.
Wells Fargo analyst Elyse Greenspan in a note said the Allianz story is not unexpected and suggested Berkshire Hathaway might also have interest in The Hartford.
“It is not surprising to us that Allianz might be considering making a bid for HIG. We had thought that others could potentially enter the fold for HIG following the CB [Chubb] proposal,” Greenspan wrote.
Greenspan believes Berkshire Hathaway could also be a potential bidder as the “company carries excess capital and has also been looking to expand in the small commercial market.”
As for Chubb, the Wells Fargo analyst believes Chubb will be heard from again given its excess capital position of $14 billion and its desire to get bigger in the small commercial market.
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