British insurer Hastings agrees to $2.2 billion buyout offer

HELSINKI (Reuters) – British motor insurer Hastings (HSTG.L) agreed a 1.66 billion pounds ($2.17 billion) takeover by Finland’s Sampo (SAMPO.HE) and South Africa’s Rand Merchant Investment (RMI) (RMIJ.J), the companies said on Wednesday.

The deal was signed with investment vehicle Dorset Bidco Ltd and offers 250 pence a share to Hastings’ investors, alongside an interim dividend of 4.5 pence a share.

Sampo wants to expand into non-life insurance and beyond Nordic markets, it said in a statement, explaining its interest in Hastings. RMI Group has owned 30% of Hastings since 2017, Sampo said.

The terms of the offer, excluding the dividend, represent a 47.1% premium to Hastings’ 170 pence closing share price on July 28, the last trading day before Hastings flagged an approach.

After the deal is completed, Main Street, an entity owned by RMI and its unit OUTsurance, will hold a 30% stake in Hastings, while Sampo will have a 70% holding.

Alongside the deal, Hastings also reported a 31% jump in first-half adjusted operating profit to 78.3 million pounds driven by strong policy growth and a fall in motor claims as Britons drove less due to the coronavirus restrictions.

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