US insurer Hanover buys Chaucer for £131m cash

CHAUCER Insurance yesterday agreed its sale to US group Hanover Insurance for £131m in what Chaucer’s chief executive Bob Stuchbery described as “a great deal for shareholders”.

Lloyd’s insurer Chaucer accepted Hanover’s 56p per share cash offer, which comprises a 53.3p per share offer and a 2.7p per share full-year 2010 dividend. The offer values it about £10m higher than yesterday’s £303m market capitalisation.

Stuchbery said the deal was “a great complementary fit with Hanover”, which has no UK presence and wants greater exposure to specialty insurance lines such as the energy and marine insurance that Chaucer writes. “This is a deal about growth opportunity,” he added. “This is a deal that looks to see both companies benefit from that growth.”

Chaucer’s major shareholders, including BlackRock, JO Hambro and Artemis support the deal but Pamplona said it would oppose the deal as the price was too low.

Chaucer had been approached by Guy Hands’ firm Terra Firma with an offer but Stuchbery said Hanover had offered the highest price.

THOMAS VANDEVER

GOLDMAN SACHS

GOLDMAN Sachs advised Hanover on the deal, with Thomas Vandever leading the team.

Vandever joined Goldman in 1999. A partner with the bank since 2006, he has worked in the financial institutions group for six years before moving to the Americas financing group in 2005, and is managing director of the investment banking division.

His expertise spans advisory, private equity, and derivative transactions. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Vandever was joined by Nimesh Khiroya, executive director in the UK team.

Chaucer was advised on the deal by Kinmont and Willis Capital Markets & Advisory.