Shares in Aspen Insurance spiked almost 9 percent on Friday (9 March) following reports that JP Morgan had been appointed to advise the Bermudian (re)insurer’s Board.

Chris o'kane aspen

Aspen shares closed on the NYSE at $41.30, up ten percent on the week and around 8.5 percent on the day.

The movement comes amidst speculation about the future ownership of the company amidst a renewed wave of M&A in the sector and Aspen’s poor 2017 which saw its book value shrink after heavy cat losses.

On an investor call last month, Aspen CEO Chris O’Kane appeared to acknowledge that a sale may take place.

 “Regretful and embarrassed as I am about our results – we’re ruling nothing out when it comes to preserving and creating shareholder value in the future,” O’Kane said.

He added: “The view of the board and my personal view – which has always been true, but even more so after this dreadful quarter and year - is that we should consider what is the best thing for this business in the interest of our shareholders.”

JP Morgan worked alongside Aspen’s retained adviser Goldman Sachs in successfully rebuffing John Chairman’s bids for the company in 2014 which were valued at around $50 per share.

Last week, revealed that Aspen was continuing to buy more reinsurance including quota share coverage that should engage to protect capital but may also inhibit its ability to improve earnings in 2018. 

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