White Mts. seeks to buy back shares

White Mountains Insurance Group, is holding a “modified Dutch auction” for its shares.Under the auction, which started Aug. 18, a shareholder can name his or her price, between $385 and $435, anytime until midnight Sept. 15, when the auction is slated to end. At the end of the auction, White Mountain will figure out which price – of those that were offered – would be the lowest price it could pay to buy back about 300,000 shares. Then White Mountains, which is run out of Hanover, N.H., will either buy back the shares at the price named, or at a higher price or leave shareholders still holding their shares.Shares were trading for $403 per share on Aug. 16, before the auction was announced. At the close of trading on Monday, the company’s stock price was $397.85, down $10.21 from the previous Friday.Also last week, the company renewed a line of credit that enabled it to borrow as much as $450 million, giving it ready access to capital to buy back any shares, if needed. But it doesn’t. The company had $7.5 billion in cash and equivalents on hand as of June 30, according to its last quarterly filing. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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