Insurer Chubb 'disappointed' as Hartford rebuffs more buyout offers

(Reuters) -Property and casualty insurer Chubb Ltd said on Thursday it was “disappointed” that Hartford Financial Services Group had rejected two sweetened buyout offers, the larger of which valued the rival at nearly $25 billion.

In its earnings report earlier in the day, Hartford said it had declined two offers from Chubb of $67 per share and $70 per share, respectively. The approaches came after Hartford rejected an initial $23.24 billion proposal.

“Although we are disappointed, we want to repeat that our shareholders demand of us, and we demand of ourselves, that we remain a disciplined acquiror,” Chubb said in a brief statement.

The mega-merger, which would be the biggest in the sector since Aon Plc’s $30 billion bid to buy Willis Towers Watson last year, would have given Chubb a strong presence in insuring small businesses.

It would have also strengthened its business at a time when the industry is facing claims from companies that are losing revenue due to the coronavirus-driven cancellation of events.

Chubb Chief Executive Officer Evan Greenberg warned last year that the coronavirus crisis would likely spur the single-largest loss in the industry’s history.

Hartford’s latest rejections, however, do not come as a surprise as the company is worth $80 per share or more, according to analysts.

Founded in 1810, Hartford famously sold baseball slugger Babe Ruth an insurance policy in 1920 for disability protection and also insured the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned.

Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni