PartnerRe to be sold to Covéa for $9bn
PartnerRe is to be sold to French insurer Covéa for about $9 billion in cash.
The Bermudian reinsurer's parent company Exor signed a memorandum of understanding to sell its 100 per cent stake in PartnerRe to Covéa.
The agreement will become binding after it receives approval from workers' councils, according to a statement.
PartnerRe will also pay a $50 million cash dividend before the closing of the deal.
John Elkann, the chairman of Exor, said: “We have now been presented with an outstanding chance for PartnerRe to further strengthen its competitive advantage while providing important new opportunities for its people under Covéa's ownership.”
The acquisition requires approval by regulators and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. It would be the biggest deal in the industry since Axa bought XL Group, another Bermudian-based company, for $15.3 billion two years ago.
Exor said its aggregate cash return on its PartnerRe investment had been about $3 billion.
Since 2016, PartnerRe has paid a total of $661 million in dividends to Exor and has grown its book value by $510 million to $6.57 billion.
Exor said: “This was achieved notwithstanding 2017 and 2018 being among the most challenging years for the reinsurance industry.”
The reinsurance industry has evolved in recent years, Exor said, adding: “Specifically, scale is becoming increasingly important for reinsurers as their primary insurance clients consolidate and then seek counterparties with greater capital strength when reinsuring their risks.
“Following the acquisition by Covéa, PartnerRe will enter the top tier of reinsurers worldwide also by balance sheet size.”
Exor, the investment vehicle of the billionaire Agnelli family, bought PartnerRe in 2016 for $6.72 billion.
The deal was done after Exor won a hostile takeover battle for PartnerRe in 2015, breaking up a merger agreement between the reinsurer and Bermudian re/insurer Axis Capital Holdings Ltd.
Emmanuel Clarke, CEO of PartnerRe said: “Over the past four years, under Exor's ownership, we have strengthened PartnerRe's position as a global, diversified reinsurer, thanks to a continuous focus on enhancing our client and broker franchise, our underwriting and investments portfolios and our operational efficiency. And I'm confident we are in a very good position to further evolve under our new ownership.”