Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cox Says No to [Pounds Sterling]235m Bid from Esure Chief

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cox Says No to [Pounds Sterling]235m Bid from Esure Chief

Article excerpt

Byline: MALCOLM WITHERS

COX Insurance today rejected a pound sterling235 million bid from a consortium led by Peter Wood, the renowned founder of Direct Line insurance.

But market sources say Peter Owen, executive chairman of Cox, can expect a further series of telephone calls from Wood as the two sides try to find common ground.

Last week Wood indicated he would be willing to pay 85p to 100p a share for Cox. Owen rejected the offer, saying there was "insufficient substance and value" to the proposal. He says there are now no further talks.

Today Cox shares led the FTSE 350 risers with a 24% gain of 15p to 761/2p.

Dealers believe Wood may now make a hostile bid.

He signalled his interest in Cox by taking a 1.3% stake earlier this year.

It was welcomed by Cox, though if the telephone trills this week Wood can expect a more hostile reaction.

Cox suffered badly in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks and has been rapidly transforming itself into a retail insurer. …

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