Third Point Reinsurance Ltd., co-founded by hedge-fund manager Dan Loeb, likened the risk of mergers and acquisitions to picking a spouse without being aware of how much can go wrong.
“Just like marriage, in M&A the 20 percent that work are so beautiful it inspires us all” in the industry about the possible benefits of finding a partner, Chief Executive Officer John Berger said Wednesday at a conference. However, “50 percent of marriages end in divorce.”
Third Point Re has resisted the temptation to pursue a deal as insurers have increasingly been seeking acquisitions or selling themselves to rivals in combinations that add scale and diversify risks. Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. acquired Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. last year and then agreed this month to sell itself to Japan’s Sompo Holdings Inc.
Berger and Loeb, who oversees investments for the reinsurer, are under pressure to improve shareholder returns. Third Point Re slipped 5 cents to $12.30 at 10:45 a.m. in New York, trailing the $12.50 price from the 2013 initial public offering. The company doesn’t pay a dividend.
‘Fact of Life’
Berger’s remarks build on comments he made last year about the risks of M&A for Bermuda-based Third Point Re. Potential merger partners in the U.S. and Europe typically face more restrictions on investment portfolios, which could detract from the strategy of allowing Loeb to use his hedge-fund approach, Berger said at a 2015 conference.
Berger said it’s still too early to evaluate the prospects for Chubb Ltd., which was formed in January when Evan Greenberg’s Ace Ltd. acquired Chubb Corp. for more than $29 billion. But he predicted more deals in the industry.
“Consolidation is a fact of life,” Berger said Wednesday at the 7th Annual Insurance M&A Symposium held by S&P Global Market Intelligence in New York. “The stars are aligned well for more activity in the near future.”