The St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to reacquire its trademark red umbrella, and change its name to The Travelers Companies Inc. After the closing of the transaction, the company will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the new stock symbol “TRV.” The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed however, purchasing the rights to use the red umbrella from Citigroup cost the insurer “millions,” said Jay Fishman, chairman and chief executive officer. Fishman noted that bringing the red umbrella back to Travelers is well-worth the investment.
“The red umbrella is one of the great American business icons. It’s a familiar representation of protection and insurance that is in-synch with our customers’ ever-changing needs,” Fishman said. “Bringing back the umbrella and changing the company name will further advance the highly-regarded Travelers brand.”
Fishman added that the company completed a tremendous amount of branding research, and recognition of umbrella by its customers was “quite remarkable.”
He said re-acquiring the red umbrella gives Travelers the opportunity to launch their brand program. “So many people identify with the umbrella,” he said.
Fishman noted that the opportunity to reacquire the logo arose only recently after a decision by Citigroup to pursue a unified global brand identity allowed for the sale of the trademark red umbrella. According to a Citigroup announcement, net proceeds from the sale of the umbrella will offset the future costs of implementing the Citigroup unified brand.
“What we’ve paid for it … I’m hopeful will be more than made up in the increased value,” the umbrella will provide to the company, Fishman said.
The umbrella is believed to have first appeared as an illustration of insurance protection in a Travelers ad in 1870, and, as the red umbrella, became the official Travelers trademark in 1959.
“We’re pleased to be bringing the reassuring red umbrella back home to Travelers, as part of our focused efforts to continue building the Travelers brand for home, auto and business insurance customers,” said Fishman.
The company added that Travelers’ agents and brokers who came to know the symbol well and levered it in the market are incredibly enthusiastic to have it back.
The company expects to allocate the purchase price principally to the umbrella trademark, which will be recorded as an asset and is not subject to amortization for accounting purposes. Accordingly, the company will not record a charge to earnings upon closing of the transaction. The company expects to close the transaction by mid-March.
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