Paulson Says Hartford Split Would Push Share Value 60%

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Newly minted activist investor John Paulson had laid out his argument that splitting Hartford Financial Services ( HIG) into two separate units would "increase shareholder value by 60%."

According to Paulson's math, a spinoff of Hartford's P/C unit from its low-performing life insurance operations would create a combined value of $31 a share, a 62% increase over the stock's March 7 price of $19, according to a presentation filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Paulson argues that a tax free spinoff could be done by pushing the P/C business into a "debt free" new company that would issue $2.5 billion of "low cost" bonds and saddle the life business with the old liabilities. The P/C business would then issue new debt to pay shareholders a dividend.

"No one is saying that to do a spin-off today," the presentation states. "We are saying announce a spin-off today and then take the next 5 to six quarters to close."

The hedge fund titan took an 8% holding in Hartford and announced a plan to split the company's property and casualty business in a tax-free spinoff on the company's fourth-quarter earnings call.

Shares of the Boston-based insurance company were up 1.31%, to $20.18, in midday trading.

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