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(Reuters) — U.S. property and casualty insurer Alleghany Corp. snapped up Transatlantic Holdings for $3.4 billion in cash and stock, a move that may help the Bermuda-based reinsurer ward off a hostile bid from rival Validus Holdings Ltd.

Transatlantic, once controlled by American International Group Inc, had called off a merger with one partner and claimed another bid was too low during the last five months.

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