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Swiss Re and SoftBank call off talks on minority stake

May 28, 2018

Swiss Re and SoftBank have ended talks over a potential minority stake in the reinsurer without a deal, after nearly three months of discussions.

In a statement, Swiss Re said that it will “continue to implement its technology strategy with a combination of in-house developments and third-party collaborations”, adding that it will also “further explore business ideas between Swiss Re's operative entities and the portfolio companies of SoftBank” in this context.

The news comes after the FT reported at the beginning of May that SoftBank’s interest in acquiring a stake in Swiss Re was waning, which followed an earlier report from Bloomberg that talks between the two parties had stalled due to disagreements on the price and size of the stake and how much management control would be handed to SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son.

It was initially thought that the Japanese conglomerate was considering taking up to a third stake in the reinsurer, as well as seeking multiple seats on the board. However, last month Swiss Re said that the stake was not expected to exceed 10 percent and that the two parties are exploring areas of potential strategic cooperation in parallel.

Speaking on an investor call earlier this month, Swiss Re CFO John Dacey signalled that there could be wider investment interest aside from SoftBank and that its talks with the conglomerate were not exclusive.

“We aren’t exclusive to SoftBank in the sense that we talk to many large groups that might have interesting views on the future of risks and opportunities,” he said.