Swiss Re AG  (SSREY) shares surged higher in Zurich Thursday after the reinsurance giant said it was considering selling a portion of its business to Japan's SoftBank Group Co. (SFTBY) , which is run by billionaire investor Masayoshi Son.

The Zurich-based group confirmed portions of an earlier report by the Wall Street Journal that suggest Son's Softbank could take as much as a third of the group's equity, a deal that would be worth around $10 billion based on last night's closing price of Sfr90.24 per Swiss Re share. Other media outlets have suggested a similar stake purchase by SoftBank, which revealed plans yesterday to list it domestic telecoms business as part of a broader effort to raise cash for potential acquisitions. 

Swiss Re informs that it is engaged in preliminary discussions with (SoftBank) regarding a potential minority investment in Swiss Re.," the company said in a statement. "Discussions are at a very early stage. There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor as to the terms, timing, or form of any transaction."

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Swiss Re shares rose as much as 6.8% in early Zurich trading Thursday trading, the most in more than eight years, before paring that advance to around 4.61% in the opening hour to change hands at Sfr94.36 and take its six month gain to 2.9%

Son said the listing of his telecoms business, which Japanese media reports suggest could fetch as much as $20 billion, would him to spend "more time on longer-term global corporate strategy." That ambition has been partly expressed through his $100 billion Vision Fund, a tech-focused venture that has raised cash from around the world in an effort to transform the maverick billionaire into a self-described "Tech Sector Warren Buffett."

Swiss Re would be an attractive addition to Son's global ambitions in that its co-called "float" of cash held before paying out claims could give both SoftBank and his Vision Fund more firepower for further takeovers, a strategy that's been successfully employed by Buffett himself at Berkshire HathawayInc. (BRK.A) - Get BRK.A Report

Swiss Re said late last year that historically low prices, combined with a series of major natural disasters over the course of 2017, would likely push global non-life premiums by "at least" 3% and life premiums by 4% over 2018 and 2019. The group will publish its annual results of Feb. 23.