Aon-WTW mega-merger gains green light from EU regulators

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The EU’s antitrust regulators have today approved Aon’s US$30 billion bid for Willis Towers Watson (WTW), subject to certain conditions. The seal of approval hinges upon full compliance with a “substantial” set of commitments offered by Aon, which include the divestment of central parts of WTW’s business to the international brokerage company Arthur J. Gallagher (Gallagher).

The European Commission noted that these commitments will “strengthen Gallagher in its capabilities in reinsurance and commercial risk brokerage” as well as improving its footprint in the European Economic Area (EEA). This, the regulator said, will make Gallagher a credible rival to the combined Aon-WTW entity post-transaction.

Commenting on the approval, executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, said: “European companies rely on brokers to obtain best possible solutions to manage their commercial risk. Aon and Willis Towers Watson are leading players in the insurance and reinsurance brokerage markets.”

She noted that the remedy package accepted by the Commission ensures that European companies, including both insurance companies and large multinational customers, will still have good choice and good services when choosing a broker suitable for their needs.

Today’s decision follows an in-depth investigation into the impacts of the proposed transaction, given the status of both companies as global leading players in the markets for commercial risk brokerage services, reinsurance brokerage and the provision of retirement, health & welfare and investment services to commercial customers.

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