Italy's Generali to launch $1.4 billion takeover bid for rival Cattolica

FILE PHOTO: An Assicurazioni Generali SpA’s logo is seen on a building of their offices in Saint-Denis, near Paris, France, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

MILAN (Reuters) -Italy’s biggest insurer Assicurazioni Generali said on Monday it would launch a 1.17 billion euros ($1.4 billion) buyout offer for smaller rival Cattolica to further cement its domestic leadership.

Generali, which already owns a near 24% stake in Cattolica, said it would pay 6.75 euros a share, a premium of 15.3% to Cattolica’s closing price on Friday.

At 0716 GMT, shares in Generali were down 0.2% at 16.18 euros.

After a temporary trading suspension, shares in Cattolica rose 12.9%. The stock had gained around 28% in the previous two sessions. It was not immediately possible to reach Cattolica for comment.

Generali invested in Cattolica late last year, injecting fresh capital to boost its finances as demanded by industry regulators.

Generali said the takeover would allow it to become Italy’s largest player in the non-life sector, a position currently held by Bologna-based Unipol-SAI, the country’s second-biggest insurer, while also strengthening its presence in the life sector.

($1 = 0.8199 euros)

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