A$7.7bn bid will stand for further two weeks

QBE has extended its A$7.7 billion ($7.3 billion) takeover offer for Insurance Australia Group (IAG) by two weeks.

The previous offer for IAG by QBE, Australia's largest insurer, expired yesterday. It followed an initial approach on 10 April, which IAG formally rejected on 15 April.

The extension means that IAG will have until 5 May to review its decision.

IAG chairman Andrew Strong played down the significance of the move. He said: "The QBE proposal remains unchanged as does the view of the IAG board. The board does not intend to respond any further to this takeover proposal, and, as a result, the revised extension date is of no significance.

He added: "The IAG board will continue to act in the best interest of its shareholders and will keep them informed of any further developments."

IAG is considered a target for takeover after posting three consecutive years of falling profit, which has led to a steady fall in its share price.

IAG shares fell 0.2 percent to A$4.35 in the wake of the news. Its shares have risen by over 12 per cent since QBE's approach was made public. QBE shares were trading at A$23.60, down around 1 per cent, giving the group a market capitalisation of A$21 billion.

QBE has made six acquisitions in the past two years, totalling over $2 billion. It derives over two thirds of its revenues from overseas.