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Tower Announces Offer for Fidelity Life Assurance

Tower Ltd., a New Zealand insurer, announced an offer to buy local rival Fidelity Life Assurance Co. for NZ$118 million ($87 million)

Tower is offering NZ$82 a share for closely held Fidelity, comprising NZ$55 in cash and NZ$27 in Tower shares, it said in a statement. Shares of Auckland-based Fidelity last traded at NZ$80, Tower said.

The offer is subject to matters being confirmed in respect of Fidelity’s financial position and Tower is seeking access to additional information beyond what is publicly available, it said. Fidelity said the offer is “unsolicited” and recommended that shareholders take no action while it prepares a response with assistance from independent advisers, according to an e-mailed statement.

Tower shares rose 4 cents, or 2.2 percent, to NZ$1.87 at the 5 p.m. market close in Wellington.

Fidelity has about 150 shareholders with 53 percent of the stock owned by a single family trust, according to its website. Net profit rose 63 percent to NZ$16.9 million in the year ended June 30, it said today.

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