White Mountain does some deals

Is White Mountain Insurance selling or is it buying?

The insurance conglomerate – now based in New Jersey but with some executive offices in Hanover – announced on Wednesday that it is selling Sirius America to Lightyear Capital, a New York investment firm for approximately $139 million.

Lightyear is partnering with Lehman Brothers Merchants Banking and AlpInvest Partners to acquire a majority equity stake in Sirius — which has a GAAP book value of $116 million — in a deal that is expected to close this summer.

On the other hand, White Mountain is buying an 18 percent stake in Lightyear as part of the deal. Details of that arrangement were not disclosed.

Lightyear, which manages about $2 billion in assets, was founded in 2002 by Donald Marron, former chairman and CEO of PaineWebber Group.

White Mountain Re, a wholly owned subsidiary of White Mountain acquired Sirius America, based in New York City as part of Sirius International, the largest reinsurer in Scandinavia.

The rating company AM Best recently announced that it was considering lowering Sirius’ A rating to an A- as a result of the sale, because the company will no longer get the rating’s boost by being associated with White Mountain. White Mountain’s share price fell $6.20 to $547 a share, the day of the announcement. – BOB SANDERS

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