Property and casualty insurer Hartford rejected a $23.24 billion takeover offer from larger rival Chubb Ltd on Tuesday, derailing what would have been the largest deal in the property and casualty insurance sector since 2016.
Hartford said its board had determined that entering into talks about a deal would not be in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.
Chubb had made a $65 per share offer for the insurer on March 18, a premium of about 13% to Hartford’s closing stock price a day earlier.
A deal between Hartford and Chubb would be the biggest in the sector since Aon Plc’s $30 billion bid to buy Willis Towers Watson last year, and the largest in the U.S. P&C insurance space since Chubb was created in its current form in January 2016.
Chubb’s bid for Hartford has come after its chief executive officer, Evan Greenberg, warned in April that the pandemic would likely spur the single-largest loss in the industry’s history.
The insurance industry has faced claims from businesses that are losing revenue because the coronavirus-led crisis has led to canceled events and travel disruption, with the virus also causing an unprecedented loss of lives.
Chubb booked $1.19 billion in pandemic-related losses in 2020. The insurer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Hartford’s small-business insurance franchise would be the main draw for Chubb, which currently focuses on covering mid-sized and large companies.
Founded in 1810, Hartford famously sold baseball slugger Babe Ruth an insurance policy in 1920 for disability protection and also insured the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned.
The insurer has also provided coverage for former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower’s 190-acre farm, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Chubb, which has underwritten the production of “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial,” traces its roots to 1882.