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ACE sweeps up Chubb for $28.3 billion

Evan Greenberg, president and CEO of ACE Ltd., participatesEvan Greenberg, president and CEO of ACE Ltd., participates
Evan Greenberg, president and CEO of ACE Ltd., participates in a panel discussion at the Insurance 2004 seminar in New York on Wednesday, June 16, 2004. Photograph by Scott Eels — Bloomberg via Getty Images

ACE (ACE), the Zurich-based insurer with operations in more than 50 countries, agreed to buy U.S. rival Chubb (CB) for $28.3 billion in a cash and stock deal, which will bulk up the insurer amid a tough business environment for the industry.

The deal will create an international behemoth with combined revenues of over $31 billion annually. Chubb primarily specializes in middle-market commercial and specialty insurance, but also has a highly sought after unit appealing to wealthy individuals. Chubb’s Masterpiece homeowners coverage is the choice option for high net worth Americans, which was a significant draw for ACE as it looks to expand its base of wealthy customers.

“The data and insight we will gain from our respective skills and experience will allow us to do so much more,” said Evan Greenberg, chairman and CEO of ACE. “Chubb will enhance ACE’s ability to serve the upper middle market, while ACE will provide more products to serve Chubb’s middle market clients, and our combined strengths will enable us to pursue the small and micro markets globally.”

A combination of pricing pressures and mediocre interest income after years of rock bottom interest rates have squeezed property-and-casualty insurers over the past few years. Also, a lack of any major hurricane or natural disaster in the U.S. means that fewer claim checks have been paid out and the cash on-hand is being put to work by insurers across the board, which has created competition for returns and depressed prices.

For each of its shares, Chubb will receive $62.93 in cash and 0.6019 shares of ACE, bringing the total price to $124.13 a share. That’s a 30% premium over Tuesday’s closing price. ACE shareholders will lay claim to 70% of the new company, which will operate under the Chubb name globally. Greenberg will continue to helm the combined company, and Chubb CEO John Finnegan will take over as executive vice chairman for external affairs of North America.