XL Soars as AXA Buys

XL Group Ltd. (NYSE: XL) shares took flight late Monday morning. AXA announced plans to acquire XL Group for $57.60 per share in cash.

AXA announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of XL Group, a leading global Property & Casualty commercial lines insurer and re-insurer with strong presence in North America, Europe, Lloyd's and Asia-Pacific. The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of AXA and XL Group.

Total consideration for the acquisition would amount to $15.3 billion U.S. (or Euro 12.4 billion), to be fully paid in cash. Under the terms of the transaction, XL Group shareholders will receive $57.60 U.S. per share. This represents a premium of 33% to XL Group closing share price on March 2.

According to AXA CEO Thomas Buberl, "This transaction is a unique strategic opportunity for AXA to shift its business profile from predominantly L&S business to predominantly P&C business, and will enable the Group to become the number-one global P&C Commercial lines insurer based on gross written premiums.

"The transaction offers significant long-term value creation for our stakeholders with increased risk diversification, higher cash remittance potential and reinforced growth prospects. The future AXA will see its profile significantly rebalanced towards insurance risks and away from financial risks."

XL Group is a leader in P&C Commercial and specialty lines with an active global network. XL Group generated $15 billion U.S. of GWP in FY17.

Shares in XL soared $12.60, or 29.1%, to $55.90.