(Bloomberg) — Axis Capital Holdings Ltd. agreed to merge withPartnerRe Ltd., combining two Bermuda-based reinsurers with a totalmarket value of almost $11 billion amid accelerating consolidationin the industry.

PartnerRe shareholders will own 51.6% of the new company afterthe "merger of equals," while Axis investors hold 48.4%, the firmssaid late Sunday in New York. The new company will be among theworld's five largest reinsurers, with more than $10 billion incombined policy sales. Invested assets and cash will be more than$33 billion.

The transaction "will leverage the complementary strengths ofboth companies," Axis Capital Chief Executive Officer Albert A.Benchimol, who will serve as CEO of the combined firm, said in thestatement. The deal will "create an organization with the size andbreadth to enhance product and service offerings, maximize growthopportunities, optimize portfolios and deliver both economies ofscale and capital efficiencies."

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