By Sophie Sassard and Jessica Toonkel
LONDON/NEW YORK May 9 French insurer Scor
has emerged as the lead bidder for Generali's
U.S. life reinsurance business in a deal that could be
announced shortly, two people familiar with the matter said on
Generali USA is seen as an attractive asset by sector
bankers who estimate the unit is worth about $800 million.
Generali, Scor and its financial adviser Deutsche Bank
declined to comment. Generali's adviser Citigroup was not
immediately available for comment.
Generali's new Chief Executive Mario Greco said he would
raise 4 billion euros from non-core asset sales by 2015, to
shore up capital and restore value, after long-standing CEO
Giovanni Perissinotti was ousted by disappointed investors.
The Italian insurer is also seeking to dispose of its
private bank BSI but potential buyers think it is worth less
that its CHF 2.3 billion ($2.44 billion) book
Scor was bidding against Reinsurance Group of America
in the last round of the auction and is now expected to
announce a deal with Generali shortly, the people said.
A spokeswoman for RGA was not immediately available for
Scor became the second-largest U.S. life reinsurer after it
acquired Transamerica Re from Aegon for $912.5 million
Acquiring Generali USA would be consistent with Scor's
strategy to grow in the Americas and take advantage of the
non-cyclical nature of the life insurance market.
The life market is seen as a promising area for insurers as
a result of the growing distribution of life insurance products
by banks and the aging of the populations of OECD member states.
Scor has doubled the number of its employees in the Americas
since 2005 in order to support the high double-digit annual
growth of the group in this area.