Bloomberg Anywhere Remote Login Bloomberg Terminal Demo Request


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Bloomberg Customers

Bloomberg News

Berkshire, White Mountains Get Symetra Stock in Warrant Deal (1)

June 24, 2013

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (A:US)’s General Re and a unit of White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd. (WTM:US) will each get about $40 million of stock in life insurer Symetra Financial Corp. (SYA:US) in a deal to retire warrants granted in 2004.

Symetra will issue about 2.65 million shares to each company, according to a regulatory filing today from the Bellevue, Washington-based life insurer. The deal is expected to be completed by June 28 and retires contracts that were set to expire next year.

Berkshire and White Mountains led an investor group in 2004 that purchased Safeco Corp.’s life-insurance business, which was renamed Symetra after the deal was completed. They remain the company’s largest investors (SYA:US) and, prior to the deal announced today, had warrants to purchase 9.49 million common shares for $11.49 apiece. Symetra slipped 0.9 percent to $15.20 at 9:38 a.m. in New York after touching a record high on June 18.

“With the strength of the market, they may be looking to monetize some of that position,” Edward Shields, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP, said of the investors in a phone interview. He has a hold rating on Symetra.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire’s 82-year-old chairman and chief executive officer, has struck similar deals with New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and General Electric Co. in recent months. The arrangements allow Buffett to take shares in cashless transactions, while passing on opportunities to buy larger stakes at below-market prices.

The accord with Goldman Sachs stands to make Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire one of the bank’s largest shareholders when completed later this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Noah Buhayar in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at

blog comments powered by Disqus