Barbican joins Omega bidding war
Bermuda-based Omega Insurance Holdings is now the subject of a three-war bidding war after Lloyd’s of London insurer Barbican yesterday announced a bid to buy nearly a quarter of the company.
Barbican’s 84p per share bid trumps that of Haverford (Bermuda) Ltd, the investment company of former Flagstone Re chairman Mark Byrne, which bid 83p per share, also for 25 percent of Omega shares.
Canopius has also sounded its intention to pay 83p per share for the entire company.
Omega put out a statement earlier this month, stating it had agreed to Haverford’s offer and in an interview with
The Royal Gazette earlier this week, Mr Byrne said the deal was “80 percent there”.
“We believe this proposal provides better value than either the HBL proposal or the Canopius proposal,” Barbican said in a stock exchange filing yesterday.
The proposal involves privately-held Barbican first being bought by Omega in an initial all-share deal, with no acquisition premium to be paid out to Barbican’s shareholders.
The new company formed by this initial all-share deal would then offer 84p in cash to existing Omega shareholders, who represent some 25 percent of Omega’s current investor base.
Omega shares closed down 0.5p at 73.5p in London Stock Exchange trading yesterday.
Analysts at Espirito Santo Investment Bank said Omega’s management and shareholders should consider Barbican’s rival offer.
“The price and terms look to be a good mixture of the terms offered by the current bids on the table from Haverford Group and fellow private Lloyd’s syndicate Canopius and we would expect give management and shareholders some food for thought,” Espirito Santo analysts wrote in a research note.
Omega is domiciled in Bermuda, but writes most of its business through the Lloyd’s of London market. The company posted a first half loss of $49 million this year, as claims resulting from a string of natural disasters took a heavy toll.
With the new Solvency II regulations set to take effect in 2013 and likely to raise capital requirements, pressure is mounting on smaller insurers at Lloyd’s to consolidate.