Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. says it will acquire Harleysville Group Inc. for $760 million in cash to expand its footprint in the eastern U.S.
The purchase price works out to $60 per share, nearly double Harleysville stock's closing price of $31.52 on Wednesday. Shares soared 85 percent in early morning trading to hit $58.37. The stock's high in the past year had been $37.81.
Nationwide said Thursday that the deal will boost its presence in business insurance.
Under the deal's terms, Harleysville Mutual policyholders will become customers of Nationwide Mutual.
The deal depends on approval from Harleysville shareholders and the passing of regulatory hurdles. It's expected to close early next year.
Nationwide is based in Columbus, Ohio. Harleysville will maintain its current Pennsylvania headquarters.