General Electric to Sell $2.9 Billion Swiss Re Stake

Thursday, 1 Mar 2007 | 6:36 AM ET

Swiss Re said General Electric would divest its stake worth around 3.5 billion Swiss francs ($2.9 billion), selling half to Swiss Re and placing the other half in the market. (GE is the parent of CNBC).

Swiss Re had waived a lock-up period on the shares, which General Electric had received as part of the payment for its reinsurance units, which it sold for $7.4 billion to the Swiss reinsurer last year.

"If this transaction completes ... Swiss Re's stand-alone performance could be evaluated by the market, without any uncertainty about ... a large share placement," finance chief George Quinn told journalists in a conference call.

A banking syndicate of Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS separately announced the accelerated bookbuilding for the placement to institutional investors.

The bookbuilding was a precondition for Swiss Re's share re-purchase. Swiss Re's repurchase of the shares from GE was part of a wider share buyback program of up to 6 billion francs, the company said.

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