Lack of scale has never been the problem at Axis Capital (AXS +5.4%), say Citigroup's Todd Bault and James Kaklick. The current issue is low demand, they say, and a merger with PartnerRe (PRE +1%) won't solve that.
Noting the merger is being done at "no premium" (presumably to book value), the two say this deal and others in the industry are acts of necessity, rather than strategic opportunities. "The pressure to cut even more costs will be enormous given the lack of significant deal premiums."
The team reiterates its Sell rating and $46 price target on Axis.
More on the terms: PartnerRe owners will receive 2.18 shares in the combined company for each share they own, and Axis shares will convert on a one-to-one basis.
A check of others in the industry: ACE Limited (ACE +0.1%), XL Group (XL +0.4%), Everest Re (RE +0.7%), RenaissanceRe (RNR +0.9%), Aspen Insurance (AHL +0.9%), Arch Capital (ACGL +0.2%), Reinsurance Group of America (RGA -0.6%), Montpelier Re (MRH +0.3%), Unum Group (UNM +0.1%).
The stock and cash deal currently works out to $76 per share for Platinum Underwriters (NYSE:PTP), a 24% premium to Friday's close. It's also 1.1x September 30 book value of $68.34.
Platinum owners will receive $10 per share in cash as a special pre-closing dividend, and may then elect to receive another $66 per share in cash or 0.6504 RenaissanceRe (NYSE:RNR) shares, or a combination of the two. The deal is expected to close in 2015 H1.