MILAN (Reuters) – Investment group Exor <EXOR.MI>, which controls carmaker Fiat Chrysler <FCHA.MI>, is in talks to sell reinsurer PartnerRe to France’s Covea for $9 billion (7 billion pounds) in cash, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
Exor, the investment vehicle of Italy’s Agnelli family, completed the $6.9 billion acquisition of the reinsurance group in 2016, after a long hostile takeover battle.
The deal was the group’s single biggest investment and a key step in diversifying the family’s portfolio.
News of talks between Exor and co-operative insurer Covea was first reported by the Insurance Insider website.
The source said Exor, which also controls sports car maker Ferrari <RACE.MI> and industrial machinery firm CNH <CNHI.MI>, was interested in the deal because it would offer a good premium.
“Nothing concrete is expected in the coming days but such talks normally do not go on for months,” the source added.
Covea did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Unlisted Covea, one of France’s top damage and property insurance, last year dropped a bid to buy local reinsurer SCOR.
Covea’s Chief Executive Thierry Derez said at the time the company was seeking to acquire another reinsurer.
Branching out to reinsurance would also allow Covea to diversify outside its main market France, where it makes almost 90% of its 17 billion euros ($19 billion) business.
Fiat Chrysler is in the midst of merging with France’s PSA Group <PEUP.PA>.
(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Additional reporting by Sarah White in Paris; Writing by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Mark Potter)