May 4, 2015 12:53 PM

PartnerRe rejects Exor's offer, says it will merge with Axis

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) PartnerRe rejected an offer from Italian investment company Exor, saying it will go ahead with its combination with competitor Axis Capital.

PartnerRe Ltd. and Axis Capital Holdings Ltd. agreed to combine in January in an all-stock deal.

Exor offered to buy PartnerRe in April for $6.16 billion in cash, or $130 per share. It said its offer was a better deal for PartnerRe's shareholders because it was made up entirely of cash, was fully-financed, and doesn't require Exor to raise cash or get shareholder approval.

Shares of PartnerRe fell $1.40 to $126.90, in midday trading. Axis Capital shares lost 24 cents to $52.09.

The agreement between PartnerRe and Axis Capital values the combined company at $11 billion. PartnerRe shareholders will own a little more than half of the company after the deal closes.

PartnerRe and Axis Capital said Monday they will pay a special dividend of $11.50 per share to Partner Re shareholders when their tie-up closes. They expect that will happen in the third quarter. The Bermuda-based companies say they expect around $200 million in annual savings.

Exor says it remains committed to its offer.

Exor SpA is controlled by the Agnelli family, the descendants of the founder of Fiat. The company says it owns about $14 billion in assets. According to FactSet, Exor is the largest investor in both Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and CNH Industrial NV, Fiat's former agriculture and construction equipment business.


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