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Australian insurer courts billionaire's company

Australian insurer courts billionaire's company

Patrick Gunning

Two major firms advised on the creation of long-term strategic relationship between Insurance Australia Group and Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate controlled by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Firms: King & Wood Mallesons (IAG), Ashurst (Berkshire Hathaway)

Value: About $500 million

Area: M&A

Key players: Partner Patrick Gunning (pictured) headed the KWM team.

Deal significance:

The strategic relationship is underpinned by a 10-year, 20 per cent quota share arrangement across IAG’s consolidated insurance business and an approximate 3.7 per cent investment in IAG by Berkshire Hathaway via a $500 million share placement, according to a statement from KWM.

IAG estimates that the 10-year quota share arrangement – possibly the largest insurance contract ever written – will result in a reduced capital requirement of about $700 million over the next five years.

The deal marks the first investment in an Australian company for Berkshire Hathaway. IAG and Berkshire Hathaway have had a successful reinsurance relationship since 2000.

Mr Gunning said the transaction was significant for the KWM team.

“It is not every day that Australian lawyers get to help a client consummate an investment by one of the world’s most admired investors,” he said.

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