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SoftBank seeking board seats at Swiss Re: reports

February 19, 2018

Ongoing discussions between SoftBank and Swiss Re include Softbank taking “multiple” board seats in the Swiss reinsurer, the FT has reported.

It was recently revealed that Swiss Re is in advanced talks to sell SoftBank as much as a $10bn stake in the reinsurer, almost a third of its near $34bn market capitalisation.

Swiss Re confirmed that it has been in “preliminary discussions with SoftBank Group Corp. regarding a potential minority investment in Swiss Re,” but said at the time that the talks are at a very early stage and that there is no guarantee that any investment will be agreed upon.

The FT recently reported the discussions between the two are ongoing, with a meeting between Swiss Re chairman Walter Kielholz and SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son likely to occur in the next few weeks.

One of the items said to be up for discussion is “multiple” board seats, as SoftBank seeks an element of control from such a major investment.

The FT states that SoftBank wants board seats to “influence how the reinsurer manages its $161bn in investments.”

The FT says that the discussions are focused on SoftBank taking a 20 percent to 30 percent stake, with multiple board seats, becoming an anchor investor in Swiss Re. The deal would be funded by the company, not SoftBank’s investment fund.

UBS is said to be working on the deal, facilitating the discussions for SoftBank, whilst Credit Suisse is assisting Swiss Re.