Japan's Softbank Group Corp 9984.T is in advanced talks to buy a stake in Swiss reinsurer Swiss Re AG SRENH.S worth $10 billion (7.22 billion pounds) or more, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Shares in Swiss Re, which has a market capitalisation of around 33 billion Swiss francs ($34.94 billion), were more than 4 percent higher by 1223 GMT. It is the world's second-largest reinsurer.
According to reports, the re-insurer's top management travelled to Tokyo to meet with Softbank executives including CEO Masayoshi Son. "There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor as to the terms, timing, or form of any transaction".
SoftBank has made other investments the insurance industry, and has stakes in Chinese online insurer ZhongAn, health insurance claim processing service Ping An HealthKonnect set up by Ping An Insurance Group, and USA insurance startup Lemonade.
SoftBank, which has declined to comment on the possible deal, has been engaged in aggressive spending over the past year. Insurers can transfer the risk of large losses by paying premiums to reinsurers.
"Reinsurance, especially through a high-class outfit like Swiss Re, is attractive for several reasons", David Havens, an analyst at Imperial Capital, said in a note to clients. The company serves clients through a network of around 80 offices globally.
SoftBank has already taken steps in the home insurance industry, investing last December in Lemonade Inc., a New York-based startup that uses artificial intelligence and bots to minimize paperwork and speed up the claims process for renters and homeowners.