Tue, May 29, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Swiss Re, Softbank quit negotiations on strategic stake deal

Bloomberg

Swiss Re AG said that it would continue to welcome an anchor investor after Masayoshi Son’s Softbank Group Corp ended its pursuit of a stake in the world’s second-largest reinsurer.

The collapsed talks mark the end of nearly four months of deliberations about how Softbank would invest in Swiss Re, although the two companies yesterday said that they might yet agree to collaborate on some businesses.

A purchase of a stake would have given the Japanese technology and investment company access to steady cash flows and help diversify its sources of income.

“We are still on very friendly terms — it wasn’t a sour end to the talks,” Swiss Re spokesman Willy-Andreas Heckmann said.

The reinsurer is still open to “interesting anchor shareholders,” Heckmann said, declining to say whether Swiss Re is in discussions with other potential investors.

The two sides disagreed over the price and size of the stake, and over how much management control would be handed to Son, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

Swiss Re’s reluctance to issue new shares means that Softbank would have been forced to buy its stake on the open market.

The Swiss company “will also further explore business ideas between Swiss Re’s operative entities and the portfolio companies of Softbank,” it said in a statement yesterday.

Swiss Re shares were up 0.5 percent at 91.12 Swiss francs at 9:05am in Zurich, leaving them little changed since the start of the year.

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