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.
Bentall Kennedy Buys Stockton Logistics Center
Bentall Kennedy, through a U.S. fund it manages, acquired a NorCal Logistics Center in California for US$ 105 million. The property is located at: 4611 Newcastle Rd, Stockton, CA 95215.
Point Raises $122 Million
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FBI Probes Boeing over 737 MAX
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The Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Group (CDP) and its investee companies, which include Fincantieri, Italgas, Snam, and Terna, have reached an agreement with the Municipality of Naples and the Authority of the Central Tyrrhenian Sea Port System. The entities will cooperate to provide for the development of Naples and its surrounding area. There will be a focus on helping the institutions and the community at large through financial support, real estate, and infrastructure investment, and support for local businesses. Signatories can help to provide technical expertise and planning, loans, and oversee public projects. Further, assistance and consulting will be provided, particularly as they relate to interventions and renegotiation of contract terms for the purposes of freeing up capital. Sustainable mobility will be a priority, with natural gas and biomethane forming the core fuels of the future. The group will be developing the ports, which will include the construction of emission-reducing structures.
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The Federal Reserve made a decision to hold interest rates steady and indicated that no more hikes will be coming for 2019. Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell addressed the media saying that the Chinese and European economies have slowed ‘substantially’. Despite low U.S. employment, Powell explained to the media that the U.S. has the lowest labor force participation rate among developed nations.
There were four interest rate hikes in 2018.
The Federal Reserve committee intends to conclude the reduction of its aggregate securities holdings in the System Open Market Account (SOMA) at the end of September 2019. Essentially, the Federal Reserve is ending quantitative tightening in September 2019. Furthermore, the committee intends to slow the reduction of its holdings of Treasury securities by reducing the cap on monthly redemptions from the current level of US$ 30 billion to US$ 15 billion beginning in May 2019.
In a March 20, 2019 statement called “Balance Sheet Normalization Principles and Plans”, a portion of it reads, “The Committee intends to continue to allow its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to decline, consistent with the aim of holding primarily Treasury securities in the longer run.
Beginning in October 2019, principal payments received from agency debt and agency MBS will be reinvested in Treasury securities subject to a maximum amount of $20 billion per month; any principal payments in excess of that maximum will continue to be reinvested in agency MBS.
Principal payments from agency debt and agency MBS below the $20 billion maximum will initially be invested in Treasury securities across a range of maturities to roughly match the maturity composition of Treasury securities outstanding; the Committee will revisit this reinvestment plan in connection with its deliberations regarding the longer-run composition of the SOMA portfolio.
It continues to be the Committee’s view that limited sales of agency MBS might be warranted in the longer run to reduce or eliminate residual holdings. The timing and pace of any sales would be communicated to the public well in advance.”
source: Federal Reserve website
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