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Nov 5, 2020

Intact Financial, Tryg make US$9.3B takeover proposal for U.K.'s RSA

Intact Financial, Tryg make US$9.3B takeover proposal for U.K.'s RSA

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RSA Insurance Group Plc said it received a 7.1 billion-pound (US$9.3 billion) takeover proposal from Canada’s Intact Financial Corp. and Danish insurer Tryg A/S.

The British company received a proposal from Intact and Tryg about a potential cash bid of 685 pence per share, it said in a statement Thursday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. An offer at that level would represent a 49 per cent premium to RSA’s Wednesday closing price.

Shareholders would also receive the previously-announced interim dividend of 8 pence per share, according to the statement. RSA said it’s in talks with the consortium and has indicated it would likely recommend the potential offer. The proposal is subject to due diligence, and there’s no certainty it will lead to a formal bid.

If a deal goes through, Toronto-based Intact would keep RSA’s Canadian business as well as its U.K. and international division, according to the statement. Tryg plans to keep RSA’s operations in Sweden and Norway, while RSA’s Denmark business would be jointly owned by the two firms.

Insurers have been continuing to seek scale even as they grapple with the impact of low interest rates and the coronavirus pandemic. A deal could rank one of the the biggest-ever acquisitions for Intact, which has a market value of about $21 billion (US$16 billion).

RSA offers a range of general and specialty insurance products and has long been viewed as a possible takeover target. In 2015, Zurich Insurance Group AG abandoned a 5.6 billion-pound offer for RSA after an explosion at a Chinese port triggered losses in its own business. A potential stumbling block for any new suitor could be RSA’s pension plans, which guarantee payouts to its workers on retirement regardless of market returns.

The London-based insurer said earlier Thursday that its operations in the U.K., Canada and Scandinavia are all performing in line or ahead of expectations, excluding the impact of COVID-19 claims. Group business operating profit was up in the first nine months of the year, it said in a statement.

A takeover would add to US$130 billion worth of deals involving insurance companies globally this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Volumes in the sector are up almost 50 per cent on 2019 levels thanks to Aon Plc’s roughly US$30 billion takeover of Willis Towers Watson Plc.