Buffett Says Berkshire Offer to Buy Transatlantic Has Expired

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive officer of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said his firm’s $52-a-share bid for Transatlantic Holdings Inc. has expired.

“We made an offer about a week ago,” Buffett said, according to a transcript of a television interview with Charlie Rose to be broadcast today on PBS. “That offer’s expired now.”

Ajit Jain, who heads Berkshire’s National Indemnity Co., sent a letter on Aug. 5 to Transatlantic CEO Robert Orlich that gave the New York-based reinsurer until the close of business Aug. 8 to accept or reject the unsolicited proposal, according to a statement from Transatlantic. Buffett, 80, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent to an assistant.

Transatlantic said on Aug. 12 that it reached a confidentiality agreement with Berkshire as it seeks a better offer. Transatlantic had previously agreed to merge with Allied World Assurance Company Holdings AG and had shunned an offer from Validus Holdings Ltd.

“As Transatlantic announced Friday, the company has entered into a confidentiality agreement and discussions with National Indemnity,” Steve Frankel, a spokesman for Transatlantic, said today in a telephone interview.

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