HAMILTON, Bermuda, March 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- White Mountains
Insurance Group, Ltd. ("White Mountains") (NYSE: WTM) announced today that
it has signed an exchange agreement with Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
("Berkshire Hathaway") to transfer certain runoff businesses and a
substantial amount of cash to Berkshire Hathaway in exchange for
substantially all of the common shares of White Mountains owned by
Under the terms of the agreement, Berkshire Hathaway would exchange all
or substantially all of its 16.3% stake in White Mountains (1,724,200
common shares) for 100% of a White Mountains subsidiary, which will hold
Commercial Casualty Insurance Company ("CCIC"), International American
Group, Inc. ("IAG") and $751 million in cash, subject to adjustment. As of
December 31, 2007, CCIC and IAG had combined gross assets of approximately
$435 million and adjusted shareholder's equity of $58 million. Following
the consummation of the transaction, expected during the third quarter of
2008, the outstanding common shares of White Mountains would be reduced to
approximately 8.8 million shares.
"This agreement allows White Mountains to exit runoff businesses with
potentially volatile reserves, to significantly reduce undeployed capital
and to redeem one-sixth of the company's shares at a small premium to GAAP
book value. This transaction creates substantial value for White Mountains
and our remaining shareholders," said Ray Barrette, CEO of White Mountains.
"Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway were key to the financing of our
acquisition of CGU/OneBeacon in 2001, and all shareholders benefited
handsomely from the relationship. White Mountains is now a larger, more
diversified business, competing actively in many areas with Berkshire
Hathaway. This is a graceful, value-enhancing way to go our separate ways."
The aggregate exchange value of $836 million, or $485 per share, is
based on the closing price of White Mountains' common shares on the New
York Stock Exchange on the date on which senior management of the parties
tentatively accepted the concept of the transaction, subject to final
negotiation of the value of the exchanged subsidiaries, completion of
mutually acceptable definitive documents and approval by White Mountains'
board of directors.
White Mountains and Berkshire Hathaway have structured the transaction
in a manner intended to comply with Section 355 of the Internal Revenue
Code. Accordingly, neither White Mountains nor Berkshire Hathaway expects
to realize a taxable gain as a result of the exchange. The number of White
Mountains common shares to be exchanged and the amount of cash to be
included are subject to tax related adjustment.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including,
among other things, regulatory approvals and the receipt of a ruling from
the Internal Revenue Service.
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the board of directors
of White Mountains. Although Berkshire Hathaway has been an important
investor in White Mountains since 2001, it has never had representation on
the board of directors.
The combined adjusted shareholders equity of CCIC and IAG is a non-GAAP
measure equal to (i) the combined GAAP shareholders equity of CCIC and IAG
of $94 million reduced by (ii) a GAAP liability of $36 million that is not
the legal obligation of CCIC or IAG but is being economically transferred
to Berkshire Hathaway as part of the exchange.
White Mountains is a Bermuda-domiciled financial services holding
company traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Bermuda Stock
Exchange under the symbol WTM. Additional financial information and other
items of interest are available at the Company's web site located at
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform
Act of 1995
The press release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All statements, other than statements of
historical facts, included or referenced in this release which address
activities, events or developments, which we expect or anticipate will or
may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. The words "will,"
"believe," "intend," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "estimate,"
"predict" and similar expressions are also intended to identify
forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, among
others, statements with respect to White Mountains':
X growth in book value per share or return on equity;
X business strategy;
X financial and operating targets or plans;
X incurred losses and the adequacy of its loss and loss adjustment
expense reserves and related reinsurance;
X projections of revenues, income (or loss), earnings (or loss) per
share, dividends, market share or other financial forecasts;
X expansion and growth of our business and operations; and
X future capital expenditures.
These statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by
White Mountains in light of its experience and perception of historical
trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as
other factors believed to be appropriate in the circumstances. However,
whether actual results and developments will conform to our expectations
and predictions is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that
could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations,
X the risks described in Item 1A of White Mountains' 2007 Annual Report
on Form 10-K;
X claims arising from catastrophic events, such as hurricanes,
earthquakes, floods or terrorist attacks;
X the continued availability of capital and financing;
X general economic, market or business conditions;
X business opportunities (or lack thereof) that may be presented to it
X competitive forces, including the conduct of other property and
casualty insurers and reinsurers;
X changes in domestic or foreign laws or regulations, or their
interpretation, applicable to White Mountains, its competitors or its
X an economic downturn or other economic conditions adversely affecting
its financial position;
X recorded loss reserves subsequently proving to have been inadequate;
X other factors, most of which are beyond White Mountains' control.
Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made in this press
release are qualified by these cautionary statements, and there can be no
assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by White
Mountains will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that they
will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, White Mountains or
its business or operations. White Mountains assumes no obligation to update
publicly any such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise.
CONTACTS: Investors Media
David Foy Eric Brielman
(203) 458-5850 (212) 355-4449
SOURCE White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd.