Insurance giant AXA to acquire Bermuda-based XL Group for £11bn

The AXA offices in Civic Drive, Ipswich.

The AXA offices in Civic Drive, Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

France-based insurance multinational AXA, whose UK arm includes a major presence in Ipswich, has agreed a 15.3bn US dollars (£11bn) deal to acquire XL Group, a specialist in property and casualty claims.

AXA says the combination will create the world’s biggest property and casualty commercial lines insurer based on gross written premiums, with total revenues of 48bn euros (£42.8bn).

XL, which is based in Bermuda, has a strong presence in North America, Europe, Lloyd’s and Asia-Pacific and generated 15bn US dollars of gross written premiums last year.

AXA chief executive Thomas Buberl said: “This transaction is a unique strategic opportunity for AXA to shift its business profile from predominantly life and savings business to predominantly property and casualty business.”

Under the terms of the transaction, XL Group shareholders will receive 57.6 US dollars (£41.70 )per share, a premium of 33% to its closing share price on March 2.

Axa will fund the deal through 3.5bn euros (£3.1bn) in cash, 6bn euros (£5.3bn) from a planned US stock market listing of its life and annuity business and 3bn euros (£2.7bn) of debt.

XL chief executive Mike McGavick said: “Today marks an unrivalled opportunity to accelerate our strategy with a new strength and dimension.

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“With every confidence in how we have positioned XL Group for the future, it is a substantial testament to AXA’s leadership and commitment to maintaining the XL Group brand and culture that we have come to an alignment.”