Benfield Greig Arranges Financing Required For Acquisition of E.W. Blanch And Commences Tender Offer

Apr 30, 2001, 01:00 ET from Benfield Greig Group plc

    LONDON and DALLAS, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Benfield Greig Group plc
 ("Benfield Greig"), the leading U.K. based independent reinsurance
 intermediary, and E.W. Blanch Holdings, Inc. ("E.W. Blanch") (NYSE:   EWB), a
 leading U.S. provider of integrated risk management and distribution services,
 announced today that Benfield Greig has arranged a new $390 million
 (GBP 270 million) debt facility to be provided by Barclays Capital for the
 purpose of financing the acquisition of E.W. Blanch.
     Benfield Greig and E.W. Blanch previously announced on April 16, 2001,
 that they had entered into a merger agreement under which Benfield Greig will
 acquire all of the outstanding shares of E.W. Blanch for $13.50 per share in
 cash, or approximately $179 million (GBP 123 million).  It is intended that
 this new debt facility will provide Benfield Greig with the financing
 necessary to complete the acquisition of E.W. Blanch as well as to refinance
 certain of the existing indebtedness of E.W. Blanch and Benfield Greig and to
 provide working capital for the enlarged group going forward.
     In addition, in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement dated
 April 15, 2001, a wholly owned subsidiary of Benfield Greig has today
 commenced a tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of E.W. Blanch at
 the purchase price of $13.50 per share in cash.  The tender offer is scheduled
 to expire on May 25, 2001 unless extended and is subject to financing and
 other customary terms and conditions including receipt of all antitrust and
 other regulatory approvals.  Following the completion of the tender offer,
 Benfield Greig will acquire any remaining publicly held shares of E.W. Blanch
 at the offer price of $13.50 through a merger transaction.
     Grahame Chilton, Chief Executive of Benfield Greig, commented: "We have
 been very encouraged by the strongly favorable reaction that we have received
 to the proposed merger from E.W. Blanch's customers, management and employees
 who share our vision and enthusiasm for creating a truly independent force in
 global reinsurance.  The new debt facility that has been arranged to finance
 the acquisition of E.W. Blanch supports our belief that the combined business
 has exciting future prospects and that it will be well placed to take
 advantage of the rapidly changing U.S. market."
 
     For further information:
 
     For Benfield Greig Group:
     David Haggie
     Haggie Financial
     Tel:  + 44 20 7417 8989
     Mobile:  + 44 7768 332486
     Email:  david@haggie.co.uk
 
     For E.W. Blanch:
     Andrew Brimmer
     Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
     Tel:  + 1 212 355 4449 (extn 111)
     Email:  ahb@joelefrank.com
 
     For Benfield Greig US:
     Howard Liszt
     Benfield Greig US
     Tel:  + 1 612 626 2031
     Email:  HLiszt@mr.net
 
     Lexicon Partners Limited and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. which are regulated
 in the United Kingdom by The Securities and Futures Authority Limited, are
 acting for Benfield Greig Group plc in connection with the merger and for no
 one else and will not be responsible to anyone other than Benfield Greig Group
 plc for providing the protections afforded to customers of Lexicon Partners
 Limited and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. or for providing advice in relation to
 the merger.
     This announcement has been approved by Lexicon Partners Limited and Bear,
 Stearns & Co. Inc. for the purposes of Section 57 of the Financial Services
 Act 1986.
     This announcement does not constitute an offer or invitation to purchase
 any securities.  Any such offer will only be made in documents to be published
 in due course and any such purchase should be made solely on the basis of
 information contained in those documents.
     Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters
 discussed in this news release are forward looking statements that involve
 risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside the control of E.W. Blanch
 Holdings, Inc. and, accordingly, actual results may differ materially.  E.W.
 Blanch Holdings, Inc.'s Form 10-K filed with the SEC includes a discussion of
 these risk factors and is incorporated herein by reference.
     The tender offer will be made only through definitive tender offer
 documents, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and
 mailed to the stockholders of E.W. Blanch Holdings, Inc.  E.W. Blanch
 Holdings, Inc. stockholders should read the tender offer documents carefully
 when they are available because they will contain important information.
 Following completion of the tender offer, Benfield Greig Group plc will
 acquire any remaining publicly held shares of E.W. Blanch Holdings, Inc. at
 the offer price of USD 13.50 through a merger transaction.  Investors and
 security holders may obtain a free copy of these statements (when available)
 and other documents filed by Benfield Greig Group plc and E.W. Blanch
 Holdings, Inc. at the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov.  The tender offer
 statement and related materials may also be obtained for free by directing
 such requests to Benfield Greig Group plc.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X94841144
 
 

SOURCE Benfield Greig Group plc
    LONDON and DALLAS, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Benfield Greig Group plc
 ("Benfield Greig"), the leading U.K. based independent reinsurance
 intermediary, and E.W. Blanch Holdings, Inc. ("E.W. Blanch") (NYSE:   EWB), a
 leading U.S. provider of integrated risk management and distribution services,
 announced today that Benfield Greig has arranged a new $390 million
 (GBP 270 million) debt facility to be provided by Barclays Capital for the
 purpose of financing the acquisition of E.W. Blanch.
     Benfield Greig and E.W. Blanch previously announced on April 16, 2001,
 that they had entered into a merger agreement under which Benfield Greig will
 acquire all of the outstanding shares of E.W. Blanch for $13.50 per share in
 cash, or approximately $179 million (GBP 123 million).  It is intended that
 this new debt facility will provide Benfield Greig with the financing
 necessary to complete the acquisition of E.W. Blanch as well as to refinance
 certain of the existing indebtedness of E.W. Blanch and Benfield Greig and to
 provide working capital for the enlarged group going forward.
     In addition, in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement dated
 April 15, 2001, a wholly owned subsidiary of Benfield Greig has today
 commenced a tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of E.W. Blanch at
 the purchase price of $13.50 per share in cash.  The tender offer is scheduled
 to expire on May 25, 2001 unless extended and is subject to financing and
 other customary terms and conditions including receipt of all antitrust and
 other regulatory approvals.  Following the completion of the tender offer,
 Benfield Greig will acquire any remaining publicly held shares of E.W. Blanch
 at the offer price of $13.50 through a merger transaction.
     Grahame Chilton, Chief Executive of Benfield Greig, commented: "We have
 been very encouraged by the strongly favorable reaction that we have received
 to the proposed merger from E.W. Blanch's customers, management and employees
 who share our vision and enthusiasm for creating a truly independent force in
 global reinsurance.  The new debt facility that has been arranged to finance
 the acquisition of E.W. Blanch supports our belief that the combined business
 has exciting future prospects and that it will be well placed to take
 advantage of the rapidly changing U.S. market."
 
     For further information:
 
     For Benfield Greig Group:
     David Haggie
     Haggie Financial
     Tel:  + 44 20 7417 8989
     Mobile:  + 44 7768 332486
     Email:  david@haggie.co.uk
 
     For E.W. Blanch:
     Andrew Brimmer
     Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
     Tel:  + 1 212 355 4449 (extn 111)
     Email:  ahb@joelefrank.com
 
     For Benfield Greig US:
     Howard Liszt
     Benfield Greig US
     Tel:  + 1 612 626 2031
     Email:  HLiszt@mr.net
 
     Lexicon Partners Limited and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. which are regulated
 in the United Kingdom by The Securities and Futures Authority Limited, are
 acting for Benfield Greig Group plc in connection with the merger and for no
 one else and will not be responsible to anyone other than Benfield Greig Group
 plc for providing the protections afforded to customers of Lexicon Partners
 Limited and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. or for providing advice in relation to
 the merger.
     This announcement has been approved by Lexicon Partners Limited and Bear,
 Stearns & Co. Inc. for the purposes of Section 57 of the Financial Services
 Act 1986.
     This announcement does not constitute an offer or invitation to purchase
 any securities.  Any such offer will only be made in documents to be published
 in due course and any such purchase should be made solely on the basis of
 information contained in those documents.
     Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters
 discussed in this news release are forward looking statements that involve
 risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside the control of E.W. Blanch
 Holdings, Inc. and, accordingly, actual results may differ materially.  E.W.
 Blanch Holdings, Inc.'s Form 10-K filed with the SEC includes a discussion of
 these risk factors and is incorporated herein by reference.
     The tender offer will be made only through definitive tender offer
 documents, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and
 mailed to the stockholders of E.W. Blanch Holdings, Inc.  E.W. Blanch
 Holdings, Inc. stockholders should read the tender offer documents carefully
 when they are available because they will contain important information.
 Following completion of the tender offer, Benfield Greig Group plc will
 acquire any remaining publicly held shares of E.W. Blanch Holdings, Inc. at
 the offer price of USD 13.50 through a merger transaction.  Investors and
 security holders may obtain a free copy of these statements (when available)
 and other documents filed by Benfield Greig Group plc and E.W. Blanch
 Holdings, Inc. at the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov.  The tender offer
 statement and related materials may also be obtained for free by directing
 such requests to Benfield Greig Group plc.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X94841144
 
 SOURCE  Benfield Greig Group plc