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French insurer AXA snapped up Bermuda-based XL Group Monday in a move it says will make it the leading provider of property and casualty coverage for businesses.The deal has been agreed by the boards of both companies and is expected to be completed in the second half of this year, AXA said.It will see AXA speeding up its refocus away from the U.S. market as it aims to shift toward more robust settings "less sensitive to financial markets," it said.The acquisition is AXA's largest since it purchased Swiss insurer Winterthur in 2006 for 8.6 billion euros.The merger comes as AXA seeks to focus its activity on around 15 out of the 60 countries where it currently operates.
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