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Nationwide to buy Harleysville to expand commercial insurance reach

Posted On: Sep. 29, 2011 12:00 AM CST

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Harleysville, Pa.-based Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co. in a deal that will expand Nationwide's commercial insurance reach.

Under the agreement, announced Thursday in a joint statement, Nationwide will acquire all publicly held shares of Harleysville at $60 a share, or about $760 million in total.

The deal, which is subject to shareholder, policyholder and regulatory approval, is expected to close early next year, according to the joint statement. Upon closing, Harleysville Group would be a wholly owned subsidiary of Nationwide.

“Joining with the Harleysville companies will further strengthen and diversify Nationwide’s business, expand its distribution footprint, and increase its property and casualty commercial lines business,” the companies said in the statement.

“With Harleysville’s expertise in commercial lines and Nationwide’s complementary geographic distribution, there will be a substantial opportunity to increase market share, while also providing our combined agents and customers access to a broader portfolio of insurance, financial and banking products,” Steve Rasmussen, CEO of Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide, said in the statement.