PartnerRe bid rejection fails to derail Exor plan

Caitlin Morrison
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Exor was built by Gianni Agnelli, who died in 2003
ITALIAN investment fund Exor said yesterday it remained fully committed to its $6.4bn (£4.2bn) offer for reinsurer PartnerRe, after it rejected its bid in favour of an offer from Axis Capital Holdings.

The group said that PartnerRe’s board was continuing to “ignore the superior nature of Exor’s fully financed, all-cash proposal of $130 per share, which offers a significant premium to PartnerRe’s shareholders”.

The company, which was built up by Gianni Agnelli and is now run by his grandson John Elkann, said the rival offer from Axis “still undervalues PartnerRe and is clearly not in the best interests of PartnerRe, its shareholders, employees and policyholders”.

According to the Italian firm, which controls Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield, its bid is financially superior, carries no financing conditions, can be completed swiftly and will “retain and build upon” PartnerRe’s management and employees.

Meanwhile, it stated that Axis’ proposal for an $11bn all-share deal, which includes a one-off cash dividend of $11.5 per share for PartnerRe shareholders upon closing, is “the product of a flawed process”.

Exor stated that the value of the proposed special dividend is misleading: “Since PartnerRe shareholders would own approximately 52 per cent of a combined PartnerRe/AXIS, the incremental value to the PartnerRe shareholders is less than half of the proposed dividend”.

Exor also claimed that the dividend would reduce PartnerRe’s capital by more than $550m and significantly weaken its financial strength.