Global brokerage giants Aon and Willis Towers Watson have reached a mutual agreement to put a stop to their proposed mega-merger after reaching an “impasse” with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
The huge business combination was first announced on March 09, 2020. Over the past 16 months, the giants have come up against hurdle after hurdle of regulatory challenges, and they were faring well – recently securing approval from the European Commission – until the US DOJ brought an anti-trust lawsuit against the mega-merger, bringing all deal momentum to a standstill.
Aon CEO Greg Case commented: “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.”
Despite their 16-month long courtship coming to an end, there seem to be no hard feelings between Aon and Willis Towers Watson.
“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,” Case added. “Our respect for Willis Towers Watson and the team members we’ve come to know through this process has only grown.”
Likewise, Willis Towers Watson CEO John Haley expressed his appreciation and “deep respect” for the Aon colleagues he got to know through the deal process.
“Our team’s resilience and commitment are a source of pride and confidence,” said Haley. “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. 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.”
Following the termination of the business combination agreement, both firms will now move forward independently. Aon will pay a $1 billion termination fee to Willis Towers Watson, and both companies 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 Towers Watson.