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Transatlantic Rebuffs Buffett

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Reinsurer Transatlantic Holdings (TRH) received once more a $52 per share bid from Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) National Indemnity subsidiary, but the offer was quickly dismissed as not "fairly" valuing the company

National Indemnity reinstated its earlier offer to acquire the company, a bid that has already been rejected by Transatlantic as too low relative to its estimated book value of $69 to $70. The renewed bid from Berkshire comes after Transatlantic's proposed merger with Allied World Assurance (AWH - Get Report) fell through last week.
Warren Buffett

"The Transatlantic Board of Directors believes that selling Transatlantic for cash at the substantial discount to book value represented by the National Indemnity proposal simply would not deliver fair value to its stockholders," the company said in a statement Monday. "National Indemnity has neither increased its opportunistic $52 per share proposal nor shown interest in conducting full due diligence or holding discussions that could lead to a higher offer."

Transatlantic and Allied World "mutually agreed" to call off their merger last week after it became clear that a majority of the shareholders of Transatlantic would vote against the deal. That left it open to bids from National Indemnity and rival firm, Validus (VR - Get Report), which has been attempting a hostile stock-and-cash takeover since July.

Transatlantic Chairman Richard Press said Friday that the Berkshire company's $3.25 billion offer was "demonstrably inferior" on most valuation metrics and "less compelling" than the bid from Validus and the Allied World merger.

National Indemnity has, however, given Transatlantic only till the end of the day to accept the terms of the agreement, after which the proposal would be permanently withdrawn.

"I believe, and hope you agree, that this timeframe is reasonable given the substantial time period you and the Board have had to consider my earlier letter, even though for technical reasons you may not have been in a position at that time to be more forthcoming in responding to us," National Indemnity President Ajit Jain wrote in a letter to Transatlantic's CEO.

Shares of Transatlantic were down 1.4% at $47.95 in early Monday trading.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Shanthi Bharatwaj.
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