The Aon-Willis Towers Watson mega-merger is definitively back on after speculation about whether the on-again off-again deal between the UK-headquartered brokerage giants would be revived.
Today, the companies announced an agreement to merge their operations in an all-stock transaction with an implied combined equity value of around US$80 billion, according to a press release. The combined company will take on the Aon name and will become a technology-enabled global professional services firm focused on risk, retirement, and health. It will maintain Aon’s current headquarters in London.
In terms of leadership, WTW’s John Haley will become executive chairman and will have an eye on growth and innovation. Meanwhile, the combined firm will be led by Greg Case and Aon’s CFO Christa Davies, and its board will have members from both Aon and Willis Towers Watson’s current directors.
After the merger is complete, existing Aon shareholders will own approximately 63% of the company, while Willis Towers Watson shareholders will own around 37%, according to the release. Aon predicts that the deal will provide annual pre-tax synergies and other cost reductions of US$800 million by the third full year of combination.
“The combination of Willis Towers Watson and Aon is a natural next step in our journey to better serve our clients in the areas of people, risk and capital,” commented Haley. “This transaction accelerates that journey by providing our combined teams the opportunity to drive innovation more quickly and deliver more value.”
Added Case: “This combination will create a more innovative platform capable of delivering better outcomes for all stakeholders, including clients, colleagues, partners and investors. Our world-class expertise across risk, retirement and health will accelerate the creation of new solutions that more efficiently match capital with unmet client needs in high-growth areas like cyber, delegated investments, intellectual property, climate risk and health solutions.”