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Exor and Covea reignite PartnerRe sales talks: report

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Exor and French mutual insurer Covea have reportedly entered fresh sales talks over reinsurer PartnerRe after discussions over a potential $9bn deal were called off last year.

Talks between the two companies have reportedly resumed in recent weeks, focused on a valuation for the pure-play reinsurer, according to Italian news outlet Il Sole 24 Ore, which cited a number of unidentified sources.

Exor, the investment vehicle of the Agnelli family, and Covea had previously signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the deal in March 2020, which would have meant Covea paying $9bn cash for the Bermudian reinsurer.

However, the takeover deal was scrapped last May after an attempt by the French mutual to renegotiate terms due to Covid-19 was rejected.

Following the collapse, Covea said it planned to invest EUR1.5bn ($1.76bn) with Exor, of which EUR750mn would support reinsurance underwriting risk and the other half has been allocated to investments alongside Exor.

An initial EUR500mn investment into PartnerRe-managed special purpose reinsurance vehicles was made on 1 January 2021, and an additional EUR250mn investment is scheduled to be made prior to or on 1 January 2024.

The latest news follows the recent collapse of talks between Covea and Axa over the sale of Axa XL Re.

The two were reported to be in discussions in June over a transaction as Covea continued its quest to break into reinsurance through an acquisition and as Axa XL looks to divest its reinsurance unit.

However, trade publication L’Argus de l’assurance reported in September that the talks have ended, with suggestions that Covea could not offer a sufficient price for Axa XL Re.

Insurance Insider had reported in July that talks were unlikely to result in a deal during the summer, because one of the preconditions for an executable deal would be a massive corporate reorganisation to effectively transform Axa XL Re from a segment into an entity that could be sold.

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