German insurance giant Allianz is mulling a takeover approach for large UK carriers including RSA and Aviva after the Oliver Bäte-led company was beaten to the punch in pursuit of XL Group.
According to The Times the carrier has appointed bankers to work up a wishlist of targets, with other global players including Zurich and QBE also identified in the process.
Bäte is said to be frustrated that its French rival Axa secured the acquisition of Mike McGavick’s XL Group for a $15.3bn consideration earlier this year and wants to put his vast cash reserves to use in a frothy (re)insurance M&A market.
Over the past few years the chief executive has returned huge pots of capital to Allianz shareholders, and has openly spoken about his willingness to conduct large-scale transactions this year.
However, speaking in the wake of the company’s full year 2017 results prior to the XL deal announcement, Bäte said that his stated desire to conduct M&A in the P&C space depended on finding a suitable target and a competitive takeout price.
“We believe that the prices for companies right now is pretty high, if you look at the profit ratios, so we have to have the right economic conditions and it needs to be a good fit,” he said.
”We will do something if we can do the right thing for our business and for our shareholders, but so far we haven’t found anything that is fitting.”
Last August the firm paid £500mn for a 49 percent stake in the general insurance business of LV=. It also agreed to pay a further £213mn by 2019 for an additional 20.9 percent in the form of a put option in a deal which valued the overall business at £1bn.