Big insurance deal: France’s AXA buys XL for $15 billion

PARIS (AP) — French insurance giant AXA is getting even bigger with a purchase of property and casualty insurer XL Group in a deal worth more than $15 billion.

Paris-based AXA said Monday that it has reached an agreement to buy all of XL Group Ltd in a deal approved by both boards. The deal gives AXA access to Bermuda-based XL’s extensive U.S. operations.

The purchase will make AXA one of the world’s biggest commercial property and casualty insurers. It said the deal will make AXA more focused on insurance risks instead of financial risks, a key issue amid tighter regulation of financial markets.

The offer is 33 percent higher than XL’s closing share price Friday. AXA’s shares sank on announcement of the deal.

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