Buffett's Berkshire Might Bid for Unipol Insurance Assets

Saturday, 08 Jun 2013 04:50 PM

 

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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is interested in buying assets that Italian insurer Unipol must sell as part of a merger with peer Fondiaria-SAI, business daily Il Sole 24 Ore said on Saturday.

The paper said Berkshire was eying commercial assets belonging to Milano Assicurazioni, a unit controlled by Fondiaria.

Unipol has been forced by Italy's anti-trust authority to sell portfolio assets with premiums totaling around 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion) as part of its rescue of the Fondiaria-SAI group.

The merger, which will create Italy's No. 2 insurer, is expected to close by the end of the year.

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Unipol CEO Carlo Cimbri said in May there had been 10-15 expressions of interest for the assets, including from Allianz, Axa, Aviva and Zurich.

Insurance accounted for roughly a quarter of Berkshire's revenues in 2012. Buffett's investments are viewed by many investors as a seal of approval from one of the world's most respected businessmen.

Non-binding offers for the Unipol assets are expected next Friday, Il Sole said.

Neither Unipol nor Berkshire Hathaway Inc were immediately available for a comment.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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