After last week’s speculation that it was interested in acquiring Generali
, insurance heavyweight Allianz is now reportedly setting its sights on another international rival: Australia’s QBE.
On Sunday night, German newspaper Handelsblatt
reported that Allianz CEO Oliver Bate met with QBE boss John Neal before Christmas and suggested an offer of AU$15 a share, which would value the Australian insurer at AU$20 billion (US$15 billion).
Citing unnamed sources, the report said the two insurance giants had “friendly” talks, but there were no concrete negotiations about a potential deal yet. Reuters
also cited an insider who said that Allianz made an informal approach to QBE.
The Australian insurer, however, was quick to shoot down the reports. According to the Sydney Morning Herald,
QBE said in a statement that it was not in discussions with any potential buyers.
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“While it is QBE’s policy not to comment on rumour or media speculation, QBE confirms that it is not in discussions with Allianz or any other potential buyer,” the insurer said.
Allianz, which operates in the UK like QBE, has yet to comment. Earlier this month, Bate told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung
that the company would look for big companies in the US and Europe, focusing on businesses in property insurance, credit insurance and investment management.
“Only a big takeover would help us. Buying smaller companies does not make sense for us,” Reuters
quoted Bate as saying.
Bate said Allianz would have to look at “affordable” companies with clean balance sheet that also appear to be a good match for the German insurer.
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