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UPDATE 3-Swiss Re in talks with SoftBank, Japanese firm could take minority stake

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ZURICH, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Swiss Re is in preliminary discussions with Japan's SoftBank Group on a potential minority investment in the Swiss reinsurer, the Zurich-based group said on Wednesday.

The statement followed a report in the Wall Street Journal that the two groups were in advanced talks on a deal that could be worth $10 billion or more.

The report, citing sources familiar with the matter, said the deal under discussion was for the purchase of up to a third of Swiss Re's shares at a premium. Such a deal would make SoftBank the largest investor in the reinsurance group.

"Swiss Re informs that it is engaged in preliminary discussions with SoftBank Group Corp regarding a potential minority investment in Swiss Re," the world's second largest reinsurer said.

Swiss Re's shares traded at 90.18 Swiss francs, giving it a market capitalisation of 31.51 billion francs ($34 billion).

Swiss Re's largest shareholder is BlackRock Institutional Trust Company with a 5.02 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data.

"Discussions are at a very early stage. There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor as to the terms, timing, or form of any transaction," Swiss Re added.

SoftBank did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ($1 = 0.9443 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alexander Smith)