Aon Plc and Willis Towers Watson (WTW) – the two broking giants which earlier this month agreed to sell certain businesses to Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG) to resolve competition concerns raised by the European Commission (EC) – has now secured the green light from an Asian regulator.
The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in Taiwan announced that the proposed Aon-WTW merger is not prohibited under Taiwan’s Fair Trade Act. Both domiciled in Ireland with headquarters in London, Aon and WTW have Taiwanese subsidiaries, the combination of which won’t be an issue as far as that specific market is concerned.
The FTC found that “although Aon and WTW were highly substitutable before the combination, there were still other competitors who could continue to exert competitive pressure,” according to a translation of the watchdog’s Chinese update.
It was also highlighted that Aon and WTW’s (re)insurance brokerage services clients are large enterprises with “rich bargaining experience” that can provide a counterbalancing effect. Based on the FTC’s review, the mammoth global deal is not expected to significantly restrict competition or benefit in Taiwan.
Elsewhere, regulators have yet to come up with their respective decisions. In Australia, for instance, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has delayed its findings release from May 27 to a still to-be-announced provisional date. Similarly, the EC has extended its own deadline to August 03.
On May 12, the merging brokerages revealed having signed a definitive agreement with AJG for the sale of Willis Re and a set of WTW corporate risk and broking and health and benefits services for a total consideration of US$3.57 billion.
In 2019 it was also AJG that bought the global aerospace practice of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT), which had to offload the unit so Marsh McLennan could proceed with its takeover of JLT.