15 April 2014 Insurance

Endurance accuses Aspen of creating ‘smokescreen’

Endurance Specialty has responded in what is turning into an increasingly bitter war of words between it and Aspen Insurance, which yesterday rejected an unsolicited offer by Endurance to buy the business.

Aspen’s chairman yesterday rejected a $3.2 billion bid for the company describing the offer as “ill-conceived” and citing concerns over Endurance’s track record and experience of large acquisitions.

Endurance has now responded to that statement arguing that its offer represents good value for money for Aspen shareholders and accusing its management of creating a “smokescreen” for criticising Endurance.

“That's a lot of value to leave on the table,” said John Charman, chief executive of Endurance. “Cut through the rhetoric, and this transaction is all about value and the fact that Aspen shareholders are being denied the opportunity to realize that value. We believe shareholders will see the limitations of the Aspen 'go-it-alone' plan, which they have been pursuing unsuccessfully, and will recognise the value of the transaction we are proposing - and, in so doing, will make their views known to the Aspen board of directors.”

Endurance went onto say that the continued refusal by Aspen's board and management to engage in any discussions with Endurance demonstrates “their entrenched position and is unsurprising in view of their past record of ignoring the best interests of Aspen shareholders”.

Endurance added: “Aspen's ‘rejection’ is simply an attempt to deflect from the highly attractive premium value the Endurance proposal represents by citing a series of unsubstantiated red herring objections.”

Endurance further stated that Aspen's arguments are merely a smokescreen for criticising Endurance. It said the company has from its inception, delivered superior growth in book value per share to that of Aspen. “Mr Charman likewise has a long and stellar track record of creating tremendous value for investors, and team oriented, entrepreneurial corporate cultures for employees,” Endurance said.

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