Swiss Re shares

Swiss Re shares soar on SoftBank stake talks

Zurich: Swiss Re shares rose Thursday after the reinsurance giant confirmed it was in talks to sell a minority stake in the company to Japan’s SoftBank.

The Zurich-based group said in a statement that “it is engaged in preliminary discussions with SoftBank Group Corp. regarding a potential minority investment in Swiss Re.

“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,” the statement added.

Bloomberg reported that the deal could see SoftBank purchasing up to a third of Swiss Re for more than $10 billion (8.2 billion euros), citing sources familiar with the talks who requested anonymity.

Swiss Re shares were trading at 94.00 Swiss francs ($99.4), up nearly 4.2 percent on the news, as of 1030 GMT.

SoftBank, which has declined to comment on the possible deal, has been engaged in aggressive spending over the past year.

The company is making a concerted effort to invest in technology firms through its $100-billion Vision Fund investment vehicle.

Last year it bought a 15-percent stake in ride-sharing giant Uber—which sources said was worth $7.7 billion—while it also has piled cash into Uber’s Chinese rival Didi Chuxing.

A significant investment in one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms would mark a departure from recent moves, but analysts said that Swiss Re is an attractive target because of its reliable strong cash flow and revered performance record.

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