Home Estate Planning Direct Line shares rocket higher following takeover rumours

Direct Line shares rocket higher following takeover rumours

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Shares in Direct Line have surged higher by 21 per cent today following reports the company rejected a bid from Belgian insurer Ageas in recent weeks.

This morning, Bloomberg reported Ageas had been working with advisers to put together an offer for Direct Line, but had seen its most recent offer rebuffed.

The Bromley-based insurer’s stock price has been on a steady decline, falling 46.6 per cent over the last five years, even with the spike today.

Direct Line has struggled in recent years, with its half-year results from September being described as “very poor” by Citi analysts, with pre-tax losses widening to £76.3m.

The firm’s new CEO, Adam Winslow, is set to begin in the position this week, following previous CEO Penny James’s departure from the firm last year due to an unexpected increase in weather-related claims.

Winslow previously served as UK and Ireland general insurance chief at Aviva.

In September, the firm agreed to sell its brokered commercial insurance unit for £520m, as it looked to shore up its balance sheet.

City A.M. will be updating this story as it develops.

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