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Canada Life Board Scorns Manulife Offer

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NU Online News Service, Jan. 13, 10:31 a.m. – Canada Life Financial Corp., Toronto, says its board has officially rejected an unsolicited, informal takeover offer from Manulife Financial Corp., another Toronto life insurer.

Canada Life has mailed investors a circular justifying its argument that the price Manulife has offered for the company is too low.

Manulife has insisted that its offer for Canada Life, which is worth about $4.1 billion in U.S. currency, is a good deal for Canada Life shareholders, given the current price of Canada Life shares.

But two large investment banking firms, BMO Nesbitt Burns and Credit Suisse First Boston, agree that the Manulife price is inadequate, Canada Life says.

The offer is inadequate because it is priced at valuation multiples substantially below those derived from comparable transactions and fails to reflect the “unique value and growth prospects of Canada Life,” Canada Life says.

Canada Life also contends that Manulife made its offer at a time when the Canada Life share price is unusually low and the Manulife share price is unusually high.

“Manulife can afford to pay more,” Canada Life says in a statement about the offer. “Canada Life believes that Manulife has the ability to significantly increase its offer and still realize meaningful financial benefits for its shareholders.”

Canada Life has set up data rooms to provide financial data to other prospective buyers that might offer better deals, the company says.