Aon and WTW US$30bn tie-up to have large Asia presence

March 10 2020 by Andrew Tjaardstra

Aon has made a US$29.9 billion all share offer for Willis Towers Watson.

The ambitious move by the world’s second largest broker for the third largest comes after an aborted attempt at a potential approach by Aon last year.

The combination – which will now come under regulatory scrutiny – will give the combined broking group around US$20.1 billion of revenues, US$4.9 billion of pre-tax profits, US$3.6 billion of post-tax profits and US$2.4 billion of free cash flow.

US$2.1 billion of these revenues will be in reinsurance broking making the combined firm larger than Guy Carpenter. This is bound to catch the eye of several regulators over anti-competition rules.

In addition to Australia and New Zealand, both firms have significant Asia footprints in both P&C broking and reinsurance broking. Aon has offices in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea Taiwan and Vietnam.

Willis Towers Watson has multiple offices including in: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Aon said there would be US$800 million of synergies from the combination, which the two companies had first discussed more than a year ago. The company said that the deal would be accretive to adjusted earnings per share in the first full year after the acquisition.

Aon’s chief executive Greg Case commented: “This combination will create a more innovative platform capable of delivering better outcomes for all stakeholders, including clients, colleagues, partners and investors.”

It is the latest significant deal in the global broking space after Willis acquired Towers Watson for US$8.7 billion and Marsh & McLennan bought JLT for US$5.9 billion – a deal that completed last year.

For more insight on the implications of a merger see here.