But Baete says potential acquisition targets are overvalued

Allianz’s chief executive says he is open to a “merger of equals”, but added that overvalued share prices stand in the way of major acquisitions, the Financial Times reported.

Oliver Baete

Baete (pictured) said that with stock market valuations so high, he ruled out making hostile takeovers, pointing to the huge premiums that would likely be necessary to close such deals. Instead, a merger of equals with a willing partner would be a more cost-effective way forward. 

“It is very difficult to justify paying 30% more on a €30bn asset than to pay 30% on a €5bn asset,” the FT quoted Oliver Baete as saying.

He said good targets were hard to find: “We’ve decided that we have not found yet the attractive asset to make us comfortable to plough out a lot of money,” 

“We would never go after anybody against their will; never,” he told the newspaper.

Last year Allianz spent £500m on a 49% stake in LV=’s general insurance business, and earlier this year paid €1.9bn to buy out minority investors in trade credit insurer Euler Hermes. 

It was also reported to have been one of the seven companies that expressed interest in XL Group before it was bought by AXA.