September 18, 2017 / 7:05 AM / 10 months ago

Insurer esure's shares rise 5 percent on deal speculation

(Reuters) - Shares in esure Group (ESUR.L) rose around 5 percent on Monday after the Sunday Times reported the British insurer’s biggest shareholder Peter Wood was looking to sell his 30.8 percent stake.

Wood held informal talks with potential buyers over a deal to sell his stake, which would trigger a bid for the whole business, the newspaper reported, citing what it called senior City (of London) sources. (

Bosses of other insurance companies claim to have been approached by Wood in recent months, the Sunday Times said.

A merger with a U.S. insurer is considered the most likely route, the newspaper reported, adding that sources claim Wood has indicated he could have an agreement in place by next month.

Esure did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Esure's shares were up 4.7 percent at 275.1 pence at 0710 GMT, making the insurer the biggest gainer on the FTSE Midcap Index .FTMC

Last year, esure denied a Sky News report that it had been approached with a potential takeover offer.

Sky News reported that buyout groups "thought to include" KKR & Co (KKR.N) were considering bids for the car and home insurer. (

Esure, which provides insurance products to almost two million drivers, home owners, pet owners and holiday makers across the UK, last year listed its price comparison website, (GOCO.L), on the London Stock Exchange, creating a stand-alone digital technology business.

Reporting By Noor Zainab Hussain; Editing by Anjuli Davies/Keith Weir

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