Buffett Brings Generali Close to Completing Cattolica Purchase
(Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. decided to tender its 7% stake in Italian insurance company Societa Cattolica di Assicurazione to Assicurazioni Generali SpA, which is seeking to take over the smaller rival, people familiar with the matter said.
Buffett agreed to Generali’s offer, the people said asking not to be named because the process is not public. With the tycoon’s stake, Generali is close to exceeding 50% of Cattolica shares, said the people.
The billionaire bought about 9% of Cattolica in 2017 from Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA through a company controlled by Berkshire, as part of his portfolio’s diversification. Cattolica shares closed down 1.1% to 6.965 euros Friday, above Generali’s bid price of 6.75 euros, giving the insurer a market capitalization of 1.59 billion euros ($1.85 billion).
Generali, with a stake of about 24% in Cattolica, is bidding for the rest in an all-cash transaction as part of a strategy to cement its already-commanding presence in the home market. According to the terms, Generali will pursue the bid if at least 66.67% of Cattolica investors accept the offer, and it has the right to consider whether to go ahead if it gets the acceptance of at least 50% plus one share.
Berkshire didn’t immediately respond to a message sent to Buffett’s assistant. A spokesman for Generali declined to comment.
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