Deal was ‘only proposal capable of being concluded’

Mark Byrne

Lloyd’s insurer Omega will focus on completing a transaction with Bermudan investment firm Haverford after reviewing bids from three suitors.

The decision follows a consultation with shareholders. In addition to Haverford, Omega is under offer from fellow Lloyd’s insurers Canopius and Barbican.

Omega said its largest shareholder, asset management house Invesco, has confirmed to its board that the Haverford offer, including Haverford chairman Mark Byrne’s appointment as executive chairman of Omega, has its support in preference to the Barbican and Canopius proposals. 

Omega said that the Canopius deal would require a commitment to substantial reinvestment in the combined group from certain Invesco funds. It added that in terms of shareholder support and commercial rationale, the Omega board and its advisers concluded that the Barbican proposal is not in shareholders’ interests. As such Omega contends “the Haverford offer is the only proposal capable of being concluded at this time”.

The company noted its shareholders’ differing views on the most appropriate transaction, with some wishing to retain their holding and others seeking a cash exit.  “In view of Invesco Perpetual’s preference for the Haverford offer, no alternative is available to shareholders at present which gives a total cash exit,“ the company said.

Haverford has offered up to 83p a share for 25% of the firm. Canopius offered the same amount for the entire company. Barbican proposed an all share merger, after which it planned to back 25% of Omega’s shares for 84p a share.