France's Scor, Covea agree to bury the hatchet

PARIS, June 10 (Reuters) - Covea, the top shareholder of Scor, on Thursday agreed to an orderly exit from Scor as the battling insurance groups reached a settlement over a frustrated takeover attempt and ensuing legal disputes.

“Covea and Scor firmly believe that this course of action will open up a new period of trust, in the interests of both parties, their stakeholders, and more generally the insurance sector in France and the Paris marketplace,” they said in a joint statement.

Under the settlement, Covea, which owns 8.45% of Scor, agreed to give Scor a call option on its shares at an exercise price of 28 euros per share for five years, while it also agreed not to buy shares in Scor for seven years. Scor shares closed at 26.1 euros on Thursday.

Covea will also pay Scor 20 million euros before tax and the two sides are abandoning any legal action against each other. A London trial against Barclays, Covea’s adviser, was due to start next week.

The settlement agreement will apply to the current managers of Covea and Scor as well as to future managers during the coming seven-year period.

In January 2019, Covea abandoned plans to buy Scor after fierce opposition from the reinsurer. The takeover plan had led at the time to legal disputes between the two companies.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Sarah White; Editing by Steve Orlofsky