The insurer Willis Group Holdings will merge with Towers Watson in an all-stock deal valued at about $18 billion. The combined company will be called Willis Towers Watson and will have about $8.2 billion in revenue and approximately 39,000 employees. Willis shareholders will own about 50.1 percent, and Towers Watson shareholders will own about 49.9 percent of the business.
The company will be based in Ireland, where Willis has its headquarters. Towers Watson is based in Arlington, Virginia.
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of each company.
The combination of Willis and Towers Watson brings together two highly complementary businesses to create an integrated global advisory, broking, and solutions provider to serve a broad range of clients in existing and new business lines.
John Haley, Chairman and CEO of Towers Watson, said, “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,” Haley says. “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.”
Haley says he expects 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 stakeholders.
Haley continued, “Importantly, our organizations share a client-first mentality and a focus on providing services and solutions that consistently exceed clients’ expectations. As we bring these two companies together, we are confident associates across both organizations will enjoy increased development opportunities as part of a stronger and more global growth company.”
Dominic Casserley, Willis CEO, says: “These are two companies with world-class brands and shared values. The rationale for the merger is powerful—at one stroke, the combination fast-tracks each company’s growth strategy and offers a truly compelling value proposition to our clients.”
Together, the combined companies will advise over 80 percent of the world’s top-1000 companies, as well as having a significant presence with mid-market and smaller employers around the world, Casserly says.