HAMILTON, Bermuda, Mar 15, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- White Mountains
Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM) announced today that it and Berkshire
Hathaway Inc. are leading an investor group that will acquire the life and
investments business of Safeco Corporation for $1.35 billion, subject to
adjustment based on June 30, 2004 adjusted statutory book value.
Safeco Life and Investments, with headquarters in Redmond, Washington,
focuses mainly on group insurance, individual life insurance, structured
settlements, retirement services and mutual funds. As of December 31, 2003,
the business had approximately $22.5 billion of total assets and $2.57 billion
in GAAP book value ($1.74 billion excluding FAS 115). President Randy Talbot
and his management team will continue to run the business following the
A newly formed acquisition company will be capitalized with equity of
approximately $1.0 billion, with White Mountains and Berkshire Hathaway each
investing $200 million. The acquisition company also has secured committed
bank financing of up to $350 million. White Mountains and Berkshire Hathaway
are receiving warrants to purchase additional common shares of the company.
On a fully converted basis, White Mountains and Berkshire Hathaway will each
own approximately 24% of the company.
Investors in the group include, among others, Caxton Associates, L.L.C.,
Highfields Capital Management, Och-Ziff Capital Management, Vestar Capital
Partners, DLJ Growth Capital Partners, L.P., CAI Capital Partners and Company
III, L.P., Fairholme Capital Management and Prospector Partners.
White Mountains expects the transaction to close during the third quarter
of 2004. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other
customary closing conditions.
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 www.whitemountains.com.
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
This 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 "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
*growth in book value per share or return on equity;
*financial and operating targets or plans;
*incurred losses and the adequacy of its loss and loss adjustment expense
*projections of revenues, income (or loss), earnings (or loss) per share,
dividends, market share or other financial forecasts;
*expansion and growth of its business and operations; and
*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 with its expectations and
predictions is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause
actual results to differ materially from expectations, including:
*the failure of the acquisition to be completed or, if completed the
acquisition, its failure to enhance shareholder value;
*claims arising from catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, earthquakes,
floods or terrorist attacks;
*the continued availability of capital and financing;
*general economic, market or business conditions;
*business opportunities (or lack thereof) that may be presented to it and
*competitive forces, including the conduct of other insurers and
*changes in domestic or foreign laws or regulations applicable to White
Mountains, its competitors or its clients;
*an economic downturn or other economic conditions adversely affecting its
*loss reserves established subsequently proving to have been inadequate;
*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.
CONTACT: David Foy
Tel: (203) 453-1681
SOURCE White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd.
David Foy of White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd.,