Broker Willis Towers Watson will be broken up and large parts of it including a substantive part of its reinsurance operations sold to Arthur J. Gallagher & Co in a move designed to smooth the way for Aon’s acquisition of the business.
It is hoped the deal will help Aon secure a green light from concerned regulators. A number have expressed antitrust-related worries relating to the deal, most notably the European Commission. In April, the two brokers announced that they were developing a remedy proposal to alleviate these concerns.
The European Commission was reported to be on the verge of publishing a statement outlining all its fears. This prompted the firms to prepare a package of remedies designed to negate the need for this to be published at all.
Arthur J. Gallagher will acquire certain parts of Willis’s reinsurance, specialty, and retail brokerage operations in a US$3.5 billion deal expected to close during the second half of 2021.
The proposed deal is subject to European Commission, US Department of Justice, and other regulatory approvals, including regulatory approvals related to the pending Aon and Willis Towers Watson combination and the proposed remedy. That could mean the regulators may still have an important say on the future of all three businesses.
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