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Allianz Insurer Target to Discuss Merger With German Competitor

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Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Provinzial Nordwest Holding AG, the German insurer reported to be the target of a takeover bid by Allianz SE, will discuss a merger with competitor Provinzial Rheinland Versicherung AG.

Savings banks in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia will suspend talks with other interested parties through the end of March, according to a statement today from the Westphalia-Lippe savings bank association. The lenders agreed to the talks after meeting with Hannelore Kraft, the premier of the western German state, according to the statement.

German newspaper Financial Times Deutschland reported Nov. 30 that Munich-based Allianz submitted an offer for Provinzial Nordwest. A takeover by Europe’s largest insurer could threaten 6,000 Provinzial Nordwest jobs, according to German labor union Ver.di, which organized protests against a deal last week.

Provinzial Nordwest is based in the German town of Muenster and employs about 7,000 people serving more than 3 million clients, according to its website. An acquisition would help Allianz boost its market share in Germany.

Westphalia-Lippe savings banks and the region’s investment arm each own 40 percent of Provinzial Nordwest while the German state of Schleswig-Holstein’s savings banks hold 18 percent and the eastern German savings banks association own the remainder, according to its website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Comfort in Frankfurt at ncomfort1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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