Willis and Towers Watson to Merge

Willis Group Holdings plc, an insurance broker, and Towers Watson have agreed to an all-stock merger, creating an investment colossus. The deal values the new entity at US$ 18 billion with a combined revenue of approximately US$ 8.2 billion. Both company boards have unanimously approved the deal. Shareholders of Willis Group will own 51% of the new company, while shareholders of Towers Watson will own the rest. The new company name will be Willis Towers Watson and will be domiciled in Ireland which is where Willis is currently domiciled.

James McCann, chairman of Willis, will be the chairman of Willis Towers Watson, while Towers Watson CEO John Haley will be its CEO. Willis CEO Dominic Casserley will be president and deputy CEO of Willis Towers Watson.

John Haley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Towers Watson, said in the press release, “This is a tremendous combination of two highly compatible companies with complementary strategic priorities, product and service offerings, and geographies that we expect to deliver significant value for both sets of shareholders. We see numerous opportunities to enhance our growth profile by offering integrated solutions that leverage Willis’ global distribution network and superb risk advisory and re/insurance broking capabilities to deliver a more robust set of analytics and product solutions across a broader client base, including accelerating penetration of our Exchange Solutions platform into the fast growing middle-market. We also expect to realize substantial efficiencies by bringing our two organizations together, and have a well-defined integration roadmap to capitalize on identified savings, ensure the strongest combination of talent and practices, and realize the full benefits of the merger for all of our stakeholders.”

Willis received legal advice from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Matheson, and financial advice from Perella Weinberg Partners, LP. Towers Watson received legal advice from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and financial advice from BofA Merrill Lynch. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year. Debevoise & Plimpton was the legal adviser for Perella Weinberg Partners, LP. Baker & McKenzie was the special tax counsel to Towers Watson.

Towers Watson was formed through the merger of two consulting firms back in 2010, Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt.

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