MILAN, July 3 Italian insurer Unipol
has withdrawn an appeal against a ruling by the competition
watchdog calling on it to sell 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion)
of portfolio assets as a condition for approving a merger with
peer Fondiaria-SAI, a spokesman said.
Unipol agreed last year to rescue Fondiaria in a complex
four-way tie-up but a series of regulatory and legal hurdles has
held up completion of the deal.
Italy's anti-trust authority said Unipol must sell assets
with premiums totalling around 1.7 billion euros to get its
But the insurer filed an appeal to have that amount reviewed
"The appeal has been pulled," a Unipol spokesman said on
Wednesday, without giving a reason for the decision.
The merger, expected to close by the end of the year, will
create Italy's second biggest insurer with around 37 percent of
the domestic auto insurance market.
In May Unipol's chief executive Carlo Cimbri said the group
had received 10 to 15 expressions of interest for the assets,
from Allianz, Axa and Aviva, among
Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore said last month Warren
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc was interested in
buying some of the assets.
"Progress has been made in identifying a buyer for the
assets," a source close to the matter said, without giving
Cimbri has previously said the portfolio could be sold in
blocks or all together.