Omega shareholders vote strongly in favour of Canopius offer

Jun 07, 2012 by Adrian Hönig in  Baden-Baden Meeting

Omega shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favour of Canopius’ £163.6m takeover deal paving the way for a speedy completion of the long-running saga.

Less than 10% of the votes cast at a special general meeting opposed Canopius’ offer in a turnout representing more than 76% of Omega’s common shares.

A number of conditions including the requisite regulatory approvals remain outstanding, but deal is now likely to be completed as early as next month.

Canopius first showed an interest in Omega in January last year, sparking a bidding war that saw a rival offer emerge from Novae and a merger proposal from Barbican. At the same time, Bermudian vehicle Haverford, which is fronted by the former Flagstone-chairman Mark Byrne, put forward a deal to take a 25% stake in Omega.

Canopius and Haverford subsequently entered into a war of words over whose proposal offered the best value to Omega’s shareholders.

After Canopius withdrew from the fray, it returned with an improved offer at the end of April of 67p per share and it is this that was ultimately accepted. According to Canopius at the time, shareholders controlling 49% of Omega’s stock had indicated that they would back the proposition, including the 0.56% of stock owned by the directors.

A shareholder revolt in 2010 prompted a management revamp and the replacement of the board including the chairman and chief executive.

But it found itself open to takeover offers after feeling the impact of a string of catastrophe losses.

In January last year, it had to revise its exposure to the first round of New Zealand earthquake upwards, and that was then followed by the rest of the significant catastrophe activity that took its toll on the market last year.

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