July 29, 2020 / 3:36 PM / 12 days ago

Sampo and RMI in talks to buy British insurer Hastings

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - Finnish insurer Sampo and South Africa's Rand Merchant Investment (RMI) are in talks to buy British motor insurer Hastings, the two insurers said on Wednesday, sending Hastings' shares up 15%.

Sampo wants to expand into non-life insurance and beyond Nordic markets, it said in a statement, explaining its interest in Hastings.

RMI Group has owned 30% of Hastings since 2017, Sampo said.

The two firms are considering a cash offer for Hastings, which has a market capitalisation of 1.1 billion pounds ($1.43 billion).

Hastings said it had set up an independent committee of its board, excluding RMI representative Herman Bosman, to consider the offer.

KBW analysts said the deal would make sense given Sampo's interest in companies with strong technology.

Sampo and RMI have until Aug 26 to announce a firm intention of an offer or walk away.

Bloomberg reported news of a possible offer by Sampo earlier on Wednesday. ($1 = 0.7714 pounds) (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn, Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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