Brit’s bid for Chaucer brings in Macfarlanes, Norton Rose

Macfarlanes and Norton Rose have been called in to advise on the potential merger of Lloyd’s insurers Brit Insurance and Chaucer Holdings.

John Dodsworth

John Dodsworth

Brit Insurance, represented by Macfarlanes, has made an all-share offer for Chaucer, valuing the company at around £221m.

Chaucer has instructed Norton Rose as it considers the bid.

Macfarlanes corporate partner John Dodsworth is understood to be acting for Brit, which is reportedly considering an equity fundraising to pay for the takeover.

The firm first advised the company in 2002 on a £204.2m secondary placing and open offer.

Before that, Brit had a close relationship with now-retired Dechert partner Michael Smith.

The US firm’s London office advised Brit on its flotation in the mid-1990s and on several large deals including the £300m offer for Wren in 1999, which created one of the largest insurance ­syndicates at Lloyd’s.

Macfarlanes has close links with Brit company secretary Peter Goddard from his time at Eastgate Capital Group, which is also a client.

Norton Rose corporate finance partner David Whear is representing Chaucer on the bid.

Chaucer is a longstanding client of the firm, which advised the company ­during takeover discussions with Amlin in 2005. Linklaters acted for Amlin.

Whear, along with ­corporate finance partner Martin Scott, also advised Chaucer on raising £75m in a share offer earlier this year.

Norton Rose’s insurance practice received a boost this month when the firm was appointed to the global panel of Dutch conglomerate ING Group.

Chaucer underwrites risks ranging from nuclear power stations to aircraft. It posted a £19m loss last year due to payouts on natural disasters and investment losses.