French Insurer April Draws Interest From CVC, KKR

(Bloomberg) -- French insurer April SA has drawn takeover interest from private equity firms including CVC Capital Partners, KKR & Co. and BC Partners as it weighs a sale amid a wave of industry consolidation, according to people familiar with the matter.

April confirmed it initiated discussions with its majority shareholder as part of a strategic review that could lead to a change in its holding, according to a statement after Bloomberg’s report. The insurer said it had received “preliminary expressions of interest” and declined to comment further. Private equity firm Evolem controls about 65 percent of the company, according to April’s website.

April is working with an adviser to explore a sale, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. Shares of the company climbed as much as 13 percent on the news, the most in a decade, before the stock was suspended. April was up 9.2 percent in Paris as of 4:12 p.m. on Tuesday to give it a market value of 560 million euros ($643 million).

Representatives for CVC and KKR declined to comment. BC Partners didn’t have an immediate comment.

Insurance companies globally have announced $110 billion in mergers and acquisitions so far this year, on track to outpace last year’s $121 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Rising premiums and increasing regulatory risks are pushing companies to seek combinations. French insurer AXA SA’s $15.3 billion purchase of XL Group Ltd. was the sector’s largest deal this year.

April reported adjusted earnings before interest and taxes rose 11 percent to 42 million euros for the first half of 2018, driven by its French and international health insurance and personal protection businesses. Shares of the company had dropped 15 percent this year through Monday.

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