Us insurer Chubb is reported to be considering selling its 27% stake in Hiscox after its £310m bid for the company was rejected.
The news comes as Hiscox this week agreed to buy Irish insurer Construction and General Guarantee for £2.4m.
Hiscox directors derided Chubb's offer of 210p per share for “significantly undervaluing” the company.
Following this blow, Chubb said it would consider its position as a long-term investor in Hiscox, which may lead it to sell or reduce its shareholding.
But David Wharrier, director of insurance analysts Fitch, said he doubted Chubb would sell its Hiscox shares for less than the 225p per share it paid for them two years ago. They are currently trading at around 186p.
He added that Chubb continued to prize its links with Hiscox for its strong brand image and high net worth business.
Wharrier drew parallels between Chubb's manoeuvres and QBE International's battle to out-bid Wellington Underwriting for the Lloyd's insurer Limit last year.
He said that in QBE's case, Limit threw out the Australian insurer's initial bid, only to accept a higher offer later in the year.