Insurance giant AXA to acquire Bermuda-based XL Group for £11bn

Mar 06, 2018, 01:36
Insurance giant AXA to acquire Bermuda-based XL Group for £11bn

French insurer AXA announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire XL Group, a leading reinsurer with strong presence in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. XL generated $15 billion of gross written premium in 2017 and, according to AXA, the combined companies will be a world leader in property and casualty insurance.

The final price represents a 33% premium on XL's closing share price on 2 March.

The total consideration for the deal would amount to $15.3 billion.

Axa said the deal would make the "leading global property and casualty (P&C) commercial line player across all lines (of business)".

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Shares in XL Group have risen 23% since the start of the year.

"The future AXA will see its profile significantly rebalanced towards insurance risks and away from financial risks", he added. He will report to reporting to Axa's CEO Thomas Buberl.

Buberl commented: "XL Group has the right geographical footprint, world-class teams with recognised expertise and is renowned for innovative client solutions".

AXA, Europe's second largest insurer in terms of market capitalization (60.75 billion euros) behind German company Allianz, said it would fund XL agreement by issuing debt, cash payment and revenue from next issue of its American unit.

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Calling the acquisition of the Bermuda-based business a "major leap forward in Axa's strategic journey", Axa promised it would now accelerate its exit from its existing U.S. operations. "With every confidence in how we have positioned XL Group for the future, it is a substantial testament to AXA's leadership and commitment to maintaining the XL Group brand and culture that we have come to an alignment".

The deal, as Reuters reports, continues a wave of consolidation in the insurance industry, with carriers "turning to takeovers to strengthen their businesses as they face tougher regulation and falling returns from financial market investments".

AXA also reaffirmed its Ambition 2020 targets noting that the strong complementarities between the companies provide opportunities for significant value creation, offsetting the planned US IPO earnings dilution as soon as 2018.

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