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Five California legislators criticized the proposed acquisition...

Five California legislators criticized the proposed acquisition of Farmers Group, a giant Los Angeles insurer, by Batus. Two senators and three Assembly members assailed Batus’ parent, London-based BAT Industries, for its operations in South Africa and extensive tobacco manufacturing and marketing. Farmers, which invests about 5% of its assets in companies with South African operations, is a leader in offering nonsmoker discounts on premiums. The legislators urged California Insurance Commissioner Roxani Gillespie to reject the proposed $4.5-billion takeover on the grounds that BAT is unfit to own a U.S. insurer.


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