The U.K.’s Cox Insurance Holdings Plc, a major underwriter in the Lloyd’s market, has reportedly turned down a takeover bid from a consortium headed by Peter Wood, the founder of Direct Line, the highly successful insurer, that offers U.K. car owners automobile coverage by telephone.
The Wood group’s bid, according to numerous reports, valued Cox at between £200 million ($315 million) to £308 million ($485 million), considerably above its current market value of around £189 million ($297 million). Cox Chairman Peter Owen, however, rejected the offer.
The company stated that “Following initial discussions between the two parties, Cox Insurance Holdings concluded that there was insufficient substance and value to the proposal to justify continuing talks.” It’s unclear at present whether Wood will increase his offer.
The interest in Cox reflects its successful efforts to recover from its WTC losses to concentrate on its highly successful automobile insurance operations, Equity Red Star, the U.K.’s 8th largest auto insurer with around 1 million policyholders.