Shares in QBE Insurance jumped as much as 5% on reports Germany’s Allianz has begun talks to buy the Australian firm for $20 billion. QBE denied any sale discussions.
Shares in QBE touched $12.96 in early trade, marking the biggest surge since December last year. A short while ago, the shares were up 1.5% at $12.52 while the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 1.2%.
German newspaper Handelsblatt cited sources claiming that Allianz chief executive Oliver Bäte held an in-depth discussion with his counterpart at QBE, John Neal, before Christmas where he floated an offer of $15 Australian dollars per share for QBE.
The Australian firm, in a statement to the stock exchange, said it had not held any talks with Allianz or any other potential buyers.