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Chubb 'Disappointed' at Hartford Financial Buyout Rejection

Chubb says it is 'disappointed that The Hartford chose not to engage in discussions regarding a strategic business combination.'
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Chubb  (CB)  expressed disappointment with Hartford Financial Services  (HIG)  rejection of the U.K. insurer's $23 billion buyout offer.

Both companies' shares were lower.

“Although we were disappointed that The Hartford chose not to engage in discussions regarding a strategic business combination, our shareholders demand of us, and we demand of ourselves, that we remain a disciplined acquirer with an uncompromising focus on the fair value of any institution that we could acquire” Chubb said in a statement.

Translation: Chubb didn’t want to pay more than $23 billion. It made its $65 a share proposal March 11.

Chubb recently traded at $159, down 0.5%, and Hartford at $65.36, down 3.5%.

“Hartford determined that entering into discussions regarding a strategic transaction would not be in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” it said last week.

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“The board reaffirmed its commitment and resolve in the continued execution of The Hartford’s strategic business plan.”

Chubb has a market cap of about $72 billion, more than triple the $23 billion for Hartford.

Morningstar analyst Brett Horn said Chubb is better off without the deal.

“We would tend to view walking away as a positive for Chubb,” he wrote last week.

“The proposed combination seemed to have some similarities with the successful ACE and Chubb merger, but we don’t think The Hartford is as strong a franchise, and the premium looked substantial.”

Further, “We have concerns that acquiring The Hartford could dilute the narrow moat that Chubb has developed,” Horn said. He’s keeping his $157 fair value estimate for Chubb.