|Bid||199.70 x 214900|
|Ask||199.72 x 10000|
|Day's range||197.54 - 200.15|
|52-week range||117.10 - 232.60|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.16|
|PE ratio (TTM)||12.04|
|Earnings date||19 Feb 2021|
|Forward dividend & yield||9.60 (4.88%)|
|Ex-dividend date||07 May 2020|
|1y target est||213.69|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- A takeover offer that would have been so-so in February becomes impossible to refuse for a company whose shares have been hit by the pandemic. The 7.2 billion-pound ($9.5 billion) approach for RSA Insurance Group has been shrewdly pitched by the Canadian-Danish consortium trying to buy the FTSE-100 insurer.RSA has been led by Stephen Hester since 2014. This particular chief executive role always seemed a little low profile for the former Credit Suisse Group AG investment banker, who previously took charge of Natwest Group Plc (then Royal Bank of Scotland) during the financial crisis. Few will be surprised that a good tenure would culminate in a deal.The 685 pence-a-share price mooted by Toronto-based insurer Intact Financial Corp. and Denmark’s Tryg A/S is a 51% premium over RSA’s three-month average. Ordinarily, such terms would be hard for a board to reject and RSA says the price is acceptable — although some of the details, notably funding the pension, need resolving to transform what is currently a proposal into a binding offer.Yet RSA shares have fallen sharply during the pandemic. That could provide some grounds for claiming the consortium is being opportunistic. The bid proposal, revealed by Bloomberg News, is a less appealing 18% premium to where the shares were in February. All the same, that remains a good outcome for shareholders. The coronavirus’s impact cannot simply be imagined away: The bill for claims on business continuity insurance remains uncertain. Other takeover targets have had to fight to get bidders to meet even their pre-Covid share prices. The price here equates to 15 times next year’s expected earnings, a valuation the shares haven’t traded at since 2016.If a takeover on these terms looks like it’s worth more than the standalone option, the trickier question is whether there’s potentially a better alternative tie-up. RSA has long been talked of as a bid target. Zurich Insurance Group AG scrapped an attempted deal in 2015. RSA has remained independent because there aren’t many buyers who want its unusual bundle of U.K., Scandinavian and Canadian assets. Now that puzzle has been solved by bringing together a Canadian and Danish buyer in a joint bid, who would carve up the business between them.There are other theoretical combinations. RSA’s domestic peer Aviva Plc is retrenching internationally to focus on the U.K., Ireland and Canada. But it’s hard to see how it could assemble an offer on its own with a comparable premium, let alone 100% in cash as here. The big European insurers — Allianz SE, Axa SA and Zurich — may not have as much firepower as one would imagine. Allianz on Friday scrapped a share buyback to conserve capital. These usual suspects may hesitate to enter a public auction against a consortium with plausible synergy potential when the starting price is already high.RSA doesn’t have a firm deal yet. But at this level, it would be wise to dot the i’s and extract a binding offer here. And if there’s a better bid out there, let the market do the work of bringing it to the fore.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
VRTS earnings call for the period ending September 30, 2020.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- During normal times, traditional economic data work fine, offering reliable insight into growth, employment, prices and all sorts of other aspects of the U.S. economy. The drawback is that delays of as long as a month or even a quarter make some of the data of limited use during times like these, when a pandemic has thrown the entire economy off kilter. So there's a case to be made for the merits of alternative data — everything from new infection rates to apartment rental rates near college campuses — which can offer daily reads of the state of the economy, provided they are used with the appropriate caveats. We recently asked several Bloomberg Opinion writers to cite some of the non-conventional metrics they're paying attention to during the coronavirus recession.Mohamed A. El-Erian writes about economics, markets and central banks for Bloomberg Opinion. He is the chief economic adviser at Allianz SE, the parent company of Pimco, where he served as CEO and co-CIO:As many traditional data reports are deemed mostly out of date even before they are released, economists have had no choice but to expand the data they monitor and how they are analyzed.This means paying a lot more attention to higher-frequency data, such as daily mobility indicators, retail traffic and restaurant dining.Second, epidemiological metrics -- the coronavirus R-naught infectious rate, hospitalizations and fatalities -- are critical to follow for their insights into key influences on household and business behavior, as well as the thinking and actions of policy makers.Measures of financial resilience and solvency become even more important given uncertainties about how long we will be living with Covid-19. In addition to the usual balance-sheet data, debt rollovers and access to new financing, this expands to include highly micro anecdotal indicators such as the number of people turning to food banks.None of these measures are perfect. Moreover, they don’t make up for the inaccuracies that accompany virtually any forecast these days. But they do help to shed more light on our unprecedented economic situation, as well as help shape the questions we should be asking.Jim Bianco writes about markets and economics for Bloomberg Opinion. He is the president and founder of Bianco Research, a provider of data-driven insights into the global economy and financial markets: As summer turns to fall, attention will turn to the presidential election. How should investors measure the horse race? More importantly, how can one judge if an event is changing the outlook for the election? Enter the betting markets, such as the political betting site predictit.org. First, how should betting markets be viewed? Simply that they reflect the aggregation of all known information into one probability. So, they act like real-time polls, reacting quickly to new events.The chart below shows the betting spread for who will win the presidency, Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Biden is essentially a 60-40 favorite to win. The trend in these numbers can tell us a lot: Trump had a bad June but the worst, for now, may be over.What is the probability that either one of them wins the election? One can pay expensive Washington consultants, or create complicated computer models. Or, they can check the betting market and in 10 seconds get the same information.Tim Duy writes about the economy and Federal Reserve for Bloomberg Opinion. He is a professor of practice and senior director of the Oregon Economic Forum at the University of Oregon: A key feature of this crisis is the decline in population mobility as we strive to contain the spread of the virus. That reduction is a direct reflection of economic activity and it provides insights into the direction of the economy.The Dallas Federal Reserve Mobility and Engagement Index relies on cell phone data. The index is scaled so that zero is the average from January-February of this year and -100 is the lowest weekly for the U.S.For the nation, the index hit a low on April 11 and then began recovering. This is consistent with our understanding that many sectors of the economy bottomed out in mid-April. After that, a gradual reopening began. Subsequently released data such as retail sales confirmed this trend. But the index stopped rising in the week ended July 4. This likely reflects a surge in cases in some stages such as Texas, slowing the economic recovery. This may be an early indication that the pace of gains in traditional metrics such as the employment report will soon ebb. This would be consistent with predictions that full recovery will only come after the virus is contained to the point where we can freely move and interact as we did before the pandemic.Conor Sen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist focusing on labor and financial markets and the economy: Perhaps no measure of the economic recovery is more important than the rebound in employment. The official data we get on a weekly basis is jobless claims, which tell us something about the number of workers being laid off but nothing about employers posting jobs or hiring people.It's for that reason that weekly online job postings data from Indeed, written up by its chief economist, Jed Kolko, are so valuable. What we're seeing so far is a gradual improvement, much as we've seen from some other indicators. What's critical is that through the week of July 3, there hasn't been much difference in the pace of recovery between virus hotspots and non-hotspots. This may change in the weeks ahead, but it does suggest a durable recovery is taking hold.Scott Kominers is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, writing about economics and markets. He is the MBA Class of 1960 Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics:Throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns, delivery services have seen huge spikes in demand. Watching whether that changes during the next few months will give us a sense of how consumers are responding to staged reopening measures: are they going out or staying hunkered down at home? As the table below shows, grocery delivery has soared as people have avoided trips to supermarkets; the same is true in other categories. In the meantime, looking at who is providing delivery services can help us understand which businesses have managed to adjust their operations creatively during the pandemic. (Some more expensive sit-down restaurants, for example, have started offering delivery or take-out options for the first time.)As more businesses start opening up, looking at how many hours they're in operation each day will give further insight into consumer sentiment and business owners' demand expectations, especially in urban areas. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.James Greiff is an editor for Bloomberg Opinion. He was Wall Street news team leader at Bloomberg News and senior editor for Bloomberg Markets magazine. He previously reported on banking for the St. Petersburg Times and the Charlotte Observer.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.