Bidding war for Aspen Insurance?

|By:, SA News Editor

"Looking over the landscape, we do not see too many competitors that would be willing to pay a similar premium to book value," says Janney's Ryan Byrnes, commenting on Endurance Specialty Holdings' (ENH -0.3%) hostile offer of 1.16x book value for Aspen Insurance Holdings (AHL +2.9%).

"The chance of another acquirer coming into the picture is uncertain," says Sterne Agee. "While we have seen competing offers in past insurance transactions over the last several years, the deal multiples in those instances were close to/below book value.”

Barclays isn't so sure, saying other suitors looking to increase their scale could emerge. Possible candidates: Allied World Insurance (AWH +0.7%) and Validus Holdings (VR +0.2%) - both were involved in 2011/2012's bidding war for Transatlantic, in which Alleghany ended up buying the company in a $3.4B deal.