Canopius finally gets the nod on a £164m offer for Omega

David Hellier
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LLOYDS of London insurer Canopius said it had agreed to buy rival Lloyd’s insurer Omega after raising its offer to £164m in a recommended cash deal, thereby putting to an end a near 16 month process.

Canopius said it will pay 67p per share, increasing an offer it made earlier in April by 2p per share to secure the support of the board.

The suitor said institutional shareholders owning 49 per cent of Omega, including Invesco, Threadneedle and Aviva, said that they would accept the offer, including crucially the investment fund run by Neil Woodford.

Woodford was going to roll his fund’s near 30 per cent shareholding into an enlarged group but instead US insurer Tower will be taking a 10 per cent shareholding in the group.

Omega was advised by Gavin Kelly’s Kinmont and Cenkos, with Canopius being advised by West Hill, Aon Benfield and Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.

Small Lloyd’s of London players are seen as vulnerable to takeovers with persistently weak insurance prices weighing on their shares.