Endurance Surges as Insurer in Talks to Be Acquired by Sompo

  • Sompo say it wil decide on reported transaction Wednesday
  • Endurance shares climb 35% in New York trading, most since IPO

Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. jumped the most since its 2003 initial public offering after a report that Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. is planning to bid about $6.5 billion for the Bermuda-based insurer.

Endurance surged 35 percent to $87.87 at 3:41 p.m. Tuesday in New York after Nikkei reported that Sompo was solidifying plans for the purchase. Endurance confirmed in a statement that it is in discussions with the Japanese firm regarding a potential transaction, adding that “there can be no assurance that the discussions will lead to a definitive agreement.”

Sompo is planning to make a decision on the reported transaction Wednesday, and will promptly make an announcement, the company said in a filing to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Japanese insurers have acquired U.S. peers to boost growth abroad. Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. agreed last year to pay $3.8 billion for Symetra Financial Corp., and Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. purchased Houston-based HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. for about $7.5 billion.

Endurance, which is led by Chief Executive Officer John Charman, started operations in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York. It grew by acquiring businesses, including last year’s purchase of Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. The firm has operations in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Endurance spokeswoman Ellen Erhardt didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

Endurance in 2014 tried to combine with rival Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. in a $3.2 billion hostile takeover bid, but terminated the attempt after the target company rebuffed the offer.

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