Converium Not Very Convivial

Swiss reinsurer maintains that a hostile offer wrongly excludes its U.S. shareholders.
Stephen TaubApril 18, 2007

Swiss-based reinsurer Converium has filed a federal lawsuit against French-based rival Scor, alleging that Scor’s recent hostile offer violated U.S. securities law.

Converium, which trades through American depositary shares in addition to being listed in its home country, filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The Swiss company alleged that Scor and Patinex, an investment vehicle also named as a defendant, failed to properly disclosure their purchase and ownership of Converium securities and excluded Converium’s U.S. shareholders from participating in the tender. In February, Scor offered to acquire Converium for $2.55 billion.

In a statement, Converium added that it sought an expedited discovery and briefing schedule to enable a motion for preliminary injunction before May 22, the current deadline for tendering shares for the Scor offer. In reply, SCOR stated that it “has complied with all applicable legal and regulatory provisions in connection with its tender offer” and “intends to defend itself vigorously against the unfounded allegations of Converium’s top management.”

Viktor Dammann, an analyst at Bank Vontobel, suggested to The Wall Street Journal that Converium “hopes it can win time to prolong or even block the takeover process.”