- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 7, 2011


Buffett division bids for Transatlantic insurer

NEW YORK — A unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has bid $3.25 billion for insurer Transatlantic Holdings.

Berkshire’s National Indemnity Co. is offering $52 per share in cash for Transatlantic. That tops the price the company would get in its agreement to be bought by Allied World Assurance Co.

In a letter released by Transatlantic on Sunday, National Indemnity said its offer isn’t subject to due diligence or financing conditions. The company said it wants a formal response from Transatlantic no later than the close of business Monday. If the offer is accepted, National Indemnity would want a $75 million break-up fee if the transaction did not close by the end of the year.

Transatlantic’s board said it would carefully weigh the offer by National Indemnity and asked its shareholders to wait until it has a chance to judge it before taking action. But the company also reaffirmed its recommendation of the deal with Allied World Assurance, which is based in Switzerland.


European Central Bank to buy government bonds

FRANKFURT, Germany — The European Central Bank says it will “actively implement” a bond-purchase program that could boost Spanish and Italian bonds and drive down interest yields that threaten those countries’ budgets.

That could help Rome and Madrid fend off market trouble until a strengthened eurozone bailout fund is approved to help them.

The bank did not say Sunday which countries’ bonds it would buy in a statement after a crisis conference call Sunday. But the beneficiaries are expected to be Italy and Spain, market analysts say.

Italy and Spain are trying to avoid financial collapses like those that have forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek bailout loans.


Feds: Probe into WaMu ends with no charges

NEW YORK — The Justice Department says it has closed its investigation into the collapse of Washington Mutual without any criminal charges filed.

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