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Willis and Towers Watson to Merge

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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.

Matt Whineray Officially Named CEO of NZ Super Fund

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On June 19, 2018, the Board of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super Fund) officially appointed Matt Whineray as chief executive officer. He has been acting CEO of the sovereign wealth fund since March 2018. Whineray joined the organization in 2008 as general manager, private markets and in 2014 became chief investment officer. The appointment is effective July 1, 2018.

An executive search was conducted when Adrian Orr decided to take the governor job at New Zealand’s central bank.

Here is an interview SWFI conducted with Matt Whineray.

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SWFI First Read, June 19, 2018

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Tronc to Revert to Original Name – Tribune Publishing

Publishing company Tronc will go back to its current name Tribune Publishing. Tronc is the parent company of the New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune. Tronc stood for Tribune Online Content, but received vast ridicule from the U.S. media community.

Denholm to Lead as CIO of Solutions Unit at Aviva Investors

Al Denholm was named Chief Investment Officer for the new solutions unit at Aviva Investors. This is a new position and Denholm is based in London. He will report to Aviva Investors CEO Euan Munro. Denholm was Chief Executive Officer at Prudential Portfolio Management Group.

Hostetter Gets Fresh Start at Russell Investments

Robert Hostetter was named Global Head of Product at Russell Investments. He will report to Michelle Seitz, CEO and Chair of Russell Investments. Previously, Hostetter was Managing Director and Global Head of Product Strategy at AllianceBernstein.

President Trump Wants a Space Force Branch

U.S. President Donald Trump revealed plans at directing the Pentagon to form a new space force branch of the military.

Greenpeace Occupied AP3’s Offices Last Week

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CalPERS Reveals More of New Private Equity Model

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The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is a major U.S. pension player in private equity.

CalPERS is keen on using this direct model to better source and take advantage in private equity to meet its goal of a 10% target, while lowering fees. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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