19 May 2014News

Greenlight drops Aspen stock against backdrop of Endurance bid

One of the biggest shareholders in Aspen Insurance sold a large percentage of its stock in the insurer during the first quarter, it has emerged.

Greenlight Capital, the hedge fund backed by billionaire David Einhorn, cut its stake in the re/insurer by 90 percent in the first quarter selling almost 2 million Aspen shares, according to the hedge fund’s regulatory filings.

In the period ending 31st of March 2014, it cut its holdings from 2,185,003 to just 230,645 shares.

The sale came just prior to the unsolicited bid by Endurance to buy the business – an offer rejected by the Aspen board.

Aspen once represented one of Greenlight’s biggest investments. Last summer, the insurer represented some 2.7 percent of its total 13F portfolio, a position valued at the time at around $150 million. It was one of the ten biggest shareholders in Aspen.

Greenlight has not yet commented on why it has been selling Aspen stock.

The unsolicited $3.2 billion bid to buy the firm by Endurance led to a very public and bitter war of words between the companies after the Aspen board rejected the offer.

Aspen’s chairman has described the offer as “ill-conceived” and cited concerns over Endurance’s track record and experience of large acquisitions.

Endurance responded by arguing that its offer represents good value for money for Aspen shareholders and accused its management of creating a “smokescreen” for criticising Endurance.