Insurance brokers Aon and Willis drop $30 bn merger move, Aon to pay $1 billion termination fee to Willis

"Despite regulatory momentum around the world, including the recent approval of our combination by the European Commission, we reached an impasse with the U.S. Department of Justice," said Aon CEO Greg Case.

 

DUBLIN, July 26:

Aon plc and Willis Towers Watson announced today that the firms have agreed to terminate their proposed $30 billion merger proposal and end litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

In connection with the termination of the business combination agreement, Aon will pay the $1 billion termination fee to Willis Towers Watson,

The proposed combination was first announced on March 9, 2020.

"Despite regulatory momentum around the world, including the recent approval of our combination by the European Commission, we reached an impasse with the U.S. Department of Justice," said Aon CEO Greg Case.

"The DOJ position overlooks that our complementary businesses operate across broad, competitive areas of the economy. We are confident that the combination would have accelerated our shared ability to innovate on behalf of clients, but the inability to secure an expedited resolution of the litigation brought us to this point."

Earlier, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block Aon’s $30 billion proposed acquisition of Willis Towers Watson, a transaction that would bring together two of the “Big Three” global insurance brokers.

As alleged in the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the merger threatened to eliminate competition, raise prices, and reduce innovation for American businesses, employers, and unions that rely on these important services, said a statement by US Justice Department.

Case added, "Over the last 16 months, our colleagues have turned potential challenges into opportunities to advance our Aon United strategy. We built on our track record of innovation, continued to deliver industry-leading performance and progress against our key financial metrics and move forward with the strongest colleague engagement and client feedback scores in over a decade. Our respect for Willis Towers Watson and the team members we've come to know through this process has only grown."

"Our team's resilience and commitment are a source of pride and confidence. They have continued to bring to life Willis Towers Watson's compelling value proposition to better serve our clients in the areas of people, risk and capital," said Willis Towers Watson CEO John Haley.

"Going forward, our focus remains steadfast on our colleagues, our clients and our shareholders. We believe we are well-positioned to compete vigorously across our businesses around the world and will continue to introduce important innovations to the market. We appreciate and deeply respect all the Aon colleagues we got to know through this process."

Willis Towers Watson's proposed scheme of arrangement has now lapsed, and both organizations will move forward independently. Both firms will provide further financial updates and outlooks on their respective Q2 2021 earnings calls, which take place on July 30 for Aon and August 3 for Willis.

Meanwhile, Aon plc today announced the extension of employment agreements for Case and Aon CFO Christa Davies for an additional three years, through April 1, 2026.

 

 

Towers Watson.


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