Reinsurance firm PartnerRe is reported to have reached out directly to Italian investment holding group EXOR S.p.A. and is said to now be willing to negotiate directly with the Agnelli controlled group for the first time.
According to Reuters, PartnerRe’s Board has now approached EXOR directly to arrange discussions about the investment group’s all-cash offer for the reinsurance firm.
Sources told Reuters journalists that PartnerRe reached out in recent days, but that EXOR has put the ball firmly back into the reinsurance firm’s court and is waiting for the Board to come forward with a proposal and terms of agreement, on which any discussions could be based.
The report is perhaps a sign that PartnerRe’s Board now feels it needs to salvage a transaction, having rubbished the EXOR deal repeatedly over recent weeks, accusing the investment group of offering a deal that was lacking in certainty and had inherent risks.
After EXOR upped it’s offer to $140.50 per PartnerRe share, the reinsurance Board said that it acknowledged that EXOR’s deal could be superior and said it would be willing to enter negotiations. However it also said that it continued to recommend the amalgamation deal with AXIS Capital to its shareholders, suggesting it had no intentions of reaching out proactively.
Following the three proxy voting advisory firm opinions, that have been released in recent days all recommending PartnerRe shareholders vote against the AXIS deal, it’s possible that the PartnerRe Board now feels it needs to be more proactive in order to salvage a transaction.
Repeatedly knocking the EXOR deal could have resulted in the Italian investor walking away, which with shareholders increasingly likely to vote against the AXIS deal on August 7th, could have left PartnerRe with no partner in this M&A dance.
Of course, it’s impossible to confirm the Reuters report, but it would make sense for PartnerRe’s Board to become more approachable. The Board itself has been accused of being slow to respond to EXOR’s offer, which the proxy firms see as superior, and had its conduct throughout the process questioned.
For the Board it may be time to see what can be salvaged for the reinsurer and its shareholders.
For the full story see our previous articles, most recent first:
– Third proxy voting firm favors PartnerRe being bought by EXOR.
– AXIS refrains from citing proxy firm inconsistency in second report.
– Glass Lewis tells PartnerRe shareholders vote against AXIS deal.
– AXIS Capital questions ISS opinion on PartnerRe merger.
– ISS tells PartnerRe shareholders not to vote for AXIS merger, plus EXOR’s response.
– PartnerRe & AXIS continue to highlight tax risk of EXOR deal.
– AXIS: PartnerRe deal superior “immediately & in future” to EXOR deal, halts integration work.
– PartnerRe Board says EXOR’s offer likely superior, but still prefers AXIS.
– EXOR adds another $3 per common share to PartnerRe offer
– Enhanced PartnerRe – AXIS terms weaken merger rationale: Analyst.
– PartnerRe and AXIS reveal improved merger terms.
– EXOR says PartnerRe & AXIS acknowledge transaction is inferior.
– PartnerRe and AXIS Capital evaluate improving merger deal.
– As EXOR pursues PartnerRe, AXIS could attract buyer: Macquarie.
– Activist Sandell says PartnerRe board misinforming shareholders.
– AXIS needs to match, or beat, EXOR’s improved PartnerRe offer.
– EXOR enhances deal terms for PartnerRe shareholders.
– PartnerRe unimpressed with EXOR’s expanded completion guarantee.
– EXOR sweetens PartnerRe offer with completion guarantee.
– EXOR says receiving positive response from PartnerRe shareholders, plus updates from both sides.
– PartnerRe cites inadequate price, unacceptable risk of EXOR offer.
– Confusion over whether Arch is bidding for AXIS, or not.
– KBW analysts still give AXIS the edge to win PartnerRe deal.
– Arch said to be considering AXIS Capital bid: Reports.
– Analysts feel EXOR has improved chance of buying PartnerRe.
– EXOR capital structure has no bearing on PartnerRe rating: S&P.
– EXOR accuses PartnerRe board of “engineering” AXIS transaction.
– PartnerRe Board urges Preferred Shareholders to vote for AXIS merger.
– Bermuda court rules against Exor’s shareholder detail request.
– PartnerRe shareholders should vote to go with AXIS: KBW analysts.
– PartnerRe says Exor’s lawsuit claims “without merit”.
– Exor sues to gain access to PartnerRe shareholder details.
– PartnerRe-AXIS : $60m fees from third-party reinsurance capital by 2017.
– EXOR welcomes PartnerRe shareholder vote, Sandell questions Board.
– PartnerRe rejects EXOR again, to proceed with vote on AXIS merger.
– EXOR says will engage with PartnerRe board, but not on price.
– AXIS prepared to go it alone if PartnerRe deal breaks up.
– PartnerRe board wants improved EXOR bid, or it’s back to AXIS.
– AXIS unlikely to sweeten PartnerRe offer to match EXOR: Reuters.
– Shareholders hold key to PartnerRe’s future, EXOR bid preferred.
– EXOR increases offer for PartnerRe, becomes largest shareholder.
– Exor to consider increasing bid for PartnerRe, reports.
– AXIS, PartnerRe committed on merger. EXOR commits to its offer.
– Major shareholder prefers EXOR’s bid for PartnerRe over AXIS’.
– EXOR bids $6.4B for PartnerRe, to get into reinsurance.