Canopius trumps Haverford's bid for Omega

Lloyd’s insurer Omega has received an early stage offer from privately-owned rival Canopius, a day after another investor offered to buy a 25 per cent stake.

Canopius has been in talks over an offer for Omega since January but this is the first time it has named a price for the insurer, which is undergoing a drastic turnaround after turning lossmaking 18 months ago.

Canopius has tabled a potential offer at 83p per share, above Omega’s current share price of 74.5p.

The offer matches the highest level offered yesterday by rival bidder Haverford, an investment vehicle owned by insurance executive Mark Byrne, in a clear move to derail it.

“Canopius is seeking a short period in which to complete confirmatory due diligence. Any offer will be conditional on the success of that exercise, as well as other pre-conditions customary for a transaction of this nature,” it said in a statement.

Byrne, the son of successful US insurance leader Jack Byrne, offered to buy a 25 per cent stake in Omega yesterday in a deal that would value the stake at up to £50m.

Byrne said he would also take the post of executive chairman and add his father to the board as a non-executive if his offer was accepted.

Omega’s board recommended Byrne’s offer but has now said it will now consider Canopius’ counterbid.

“The board will continue to review the approaches Omega has received in the context of the best interests of the business and all stakeholders and is striving to conclude the process as soon as possible,” it said.