Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd., the Bermuda-based provider of property and casualty insurance, announced a $3.2 billion offer to buy Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. after the target company turned down its proposal.

Endurance offered to pay $47.50 per share, compared with the April 11 closing price of $39.37, the Bermuda-based company said today in a statement.

“Despite our repeated attempts since late January to engage in confidential and friendly discussions, Aspen’s board and management have rebuffed our proposal,” Endurance said in the statement. The refusal to hold discussions denies Aspen’s shareholders “the ability to understand and attain the clear financial, operational and strategic benefits of this transaction,” Endurance said.

Mid-sized insurers and reinsurers have been combining or joining with larger companies to diversify risk and gain scale to take on bigger accounts from primary carriers. Endurance said its offerings in crop insurance would complement Bermuda-based Aspen’s products, including its operations in the Lloyd’s of London market.

Endurance said its return on equity and earnings per share would gain in 2015 under a takeover through about $100 million in annual “synergies,” including cost cuts, underwriting improvements and better chances for capital management.

Attempts to reach Steve Colton, a spokesman for Aspen, weren’t immediately successful.

Aspen jumped 18 percent to $46.46 at 9:36 a.m. in New York. The company had advanced about 1.8 percent in the 12 months through April 11. Endurance slipped 0.6 percent to $53.50, and is up about 10 percent over the past year.

CVC Backing

Aspen investors will have the option to receive cash, Endurance shares or a combination, according to the statement. Endurance said investors led by CVC Capital Partners Ltd.- advised funds are prepared to buy $1.05 billion of newly issued common shares to help fund the cash portion of the deal. CVC has provided an equity commitment letter, Endurance said.

Endurance’s bankers on the offer are Morgan Stanley and Jefferies Group LLC. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and ASW Law Ltd. are providing legal advice.

The insurance sector has been consolidating for years. Recent deals include Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC's purchase of Capstone Insurance Services, and Confie Seguros' acquisition of Ida Tunnell Insurance

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