Many potential buyers will be drawing up their insurer Christmas shopping lists

Hardy threw a hefty barrier in Beazley’s path this week with the announcement of a three-pronged defence strategy against any further takeover bids (see page 12). Clearly, the Lloyd’s insurer has drafted in some top-notch defence advisers and is keeping shareholders on side with promises of a share buyback and rising share price. Experts are divided on whether it will be enough to save the insurer following Beazley’s very public attack.

When it comes to M&A in Lloyd’s, this is just the start – although intra-Lloyd’s deals such as these may be rare. As the market waits for developments at Brit following Apollo and CVC’s takeover, many private equity funds and other players such as overseas insurers will be drawing up their Christmas shopping lists. With Lloyd’s insurers still trading below book and the Grinch of Solvency II lurking on the horizon, they will be right up there at the top.

The broker market has, for once, been more subdued. But not in Yorkshire, where Leeds-based Joe Henderson continues to infuriate his rivals with growth plans that are aggressive, to say the least. He’s now revealed plans for a transformational acquisition in the second half of next year (see page 7). Given the noise he’s already been making, his irritated contemporaries will be watching closely. The bigger he gets, the harder they’ll fight. IT