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In play today — Blackstone shopping around subprime lender; Diebold weighs sale

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In play today — Blackstone shopping around subprime lender; Diebold weighs sale

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a periodic summary of potential deal activity in the financial sector, including rumored transactions. This summary is based on information obtained on a best-efforts basis and may not be inclusive of all potential deal activity.

Banking

* Clover Partners LP is urging Islandia, N.Y.-based Empire Bancorp Inc. to consider exploring strategic options, including potential M&A. The investor group has called on the bank to address its "weak profitability metrics and share price performance." Activist investor Lawrence Seidman joined the call, saying that he is "aware of two larger financial institutions that would be interested in discussing a possible merger with Empire."

* Elkhorn Partners LP said it was contacted by an unnamed party interested in acquiring Grand Island, Neb.-based Equitable Financial Corp. The investor group believes the price of a potential deal with the interested party would be in the best interest of all shareholders and that the company's board should seriously consider it.

Also to read: Pacific City Financial launches IPO; Market sell-offs dampen chance for a megabank deal; Despite investor concerns, KBW CEO sees more big-bank M&A

Financial services

* Blackstone Group LP is exploring a sale of its portfolio company, Exeter Finance Corp., a subprime auto lender, to another specialty lender or a banking company, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.

* Diebold Nixdorf Inc. engaged financial advisers to look for a potential buyer of the company, sources for CNBC said.

* German reinsurer Munich Re Co.'s discussions to acquire a stake in Guggenheim Partners LLC's asset management unit have collapsed without a deal being finalized, sources for Bloomberg News said.

Also to read: Euronext favorite to acquire derivatives unit of IHS Markit

Insurance

* Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. is discussing a potential sale of its asset manager, OppenheimerFunds Inc., sources told Bloomberg.

* Maiden Holdings Ltd. is in advanced discussions to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Maiden Re to an undisclosed third party. The potential deal would include about $1.1 billion of loss and loss adjustment expense reserves as of June 30.

* American International Group Inc. President and CEO Brian Duperreault said the insurance giant is eyeing acquisition opportunities in the life insurance and international businesses.

Also to read: Report: McLarens seeking out buyers; Fosun mulling insurance M&A globally, with a focus on Europe; Report: Hanover Insurance, China Re agree in principle on Chaucer sale; Report: Adverse tax change could hit Hamilton Insurance's 2 biggest shareholders; Report: UnitedHealth to acquire pharmacy operator Genoa; MetLife keeping eye on pension risk transfer market for deals; No decisions made yet in Voya's individual life strategic review

Send comments and news leads to news@snl.com. To see the previous edition of "In Play Today," click here.

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