Reinsurer Validus Holdings withdraws $3.5-bn offer for rival Transatlantic

After a six month-long hostile takeover battle, reinsurer Validus Holdings today said that it has withdrawn its $3.5-billion cash and stock offer for rival Transatlantic Holdings.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Bermuda-based Validus said it would return about 7.7 million Transatlantic shares, representing a 13.4-per cent stake in the company, tendered in the offer to the shareholders.

The withdrawal came after Transatlantic last week agreed to sell itself to property and casualty insurer Alleghany Corp for $3.4 billion.

Transatlantic, once majority-owned by American International Group (AIG), had repeatedly rejected Validus hostile bid and also rebuffed a August $3.24-billion takeover offer from National Indemnity Co, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

National had offered to buy New York-based Transatlantic for $52 a share, but Transatlantic already had signed a deal in June to be acquired by Switzerland's Allied World Assurance Company Holdings in a $44.22 per share transaction, or $2.75 billion.

This deal fell apart in September, after Transatlantic's largest shareholder opposed the merger on the grounds that the two unsolicited bids from Validus and National Indemnity were higher than that of Allied World.