Argo, Aspen among potential Allianz targets

  • Merger interest: Allianz's potential target list includes Argo and Aspen, Bloomberg reported

German insurance giant Allianz has been eyeing two Bermuda insurers as potential takeover targets after it lost out on a deal to acquire XL Group Ltd, according to an international business news service.

Bloomberg News reported that Argo Group International Holdings and Aspen Insurance Holdings have both been looked at by Allianz.

A spokesperson for Argo Group declined to comment yesterday.

A spokesperson for Aspen on Monday said the company does not comment on rumour and speculation.

Allianz, which is Europe’s largest insurer and valued at about $94 billion, is in the early stages of evaluating a variety of acquisition targets, sources told Bloomberg.

French rival Axa beat Allianz to buying another Bermudian company, XL Group, in a $15.2 billion deal.

A series of deals have transformed the Bermuda insurance market over recent years, as insurers seek growth through acquisitions at a time when capital is abundant in the industry and market conditions are very competitive.

After AIG secured a $5.4 billion deal to buy Validus and Axa snapped up XL, only a small number of stand-alone Bermudian insurers remain.

Aspen is rumoured to be up for sale and The Insurance Insider has reported that the deadline for the final round of bids is June 29, with buyout firms Blackstone and Apollo, as well as Argo Group, among parties to have expressed interest, the trade publication added.

Allianz is also being linked with much larger targets, including Zurich Insurance, worth about $46 billion, to bolster earnings, reap cost savings and be more competitive in key markets, Bloomberg reported.

Others on Allianz’s reported target list include RSA, Hartford, Aviva, Nordea Bank and QBE.