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AXA has agreed to acquire Bermuda-based property and casualty insurer XL Group (NYSE: XL) for around $15.3 billion in cash, or $57.60 per share (33% premium to Friday's closing price).

Why it matters: This is the largest whitecap on what has been a massive wave of consolidation this year in the global insurance sector.

Bottom line from the Financial Times:

"The deal, if completed, would end a three-decade run as an independent company for XL, which was founded by 68 of the world's biggest companies in 1986 to keep coverage affordable after a crisis in US liability insurance... Today [it] is best known for reinsurance."

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Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

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A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

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Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As online platforms and intelligence officials get more sophisticated about detecting and stamping out election meddling campaigns, bad actors are increasingly seeing the appeal of instead exaggerating their own interference capabilities to shake Americans' confidence in democracy.

Why it matters: It doesn't take a sophisticated operation to sow seeds of doubt in an already fractious and factionalized U.S. Russia proved that in 2016, and fresh schemes aimed at the 2020 election may already be proving it anew.