Canadian Underwriter

Shareholders approve Aon-Willis merger

August 26, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

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Aon plc’s proposed acquisition of Willis Towers Watson plc was approved Wednesday by both firms’ shareholders.

The merger still requires approval from competition regulators in various jurisdictions (including Canada) plus the Irish High Court.

Aon and Willis Towers Watson rank second and third respectively on A.M. Best Company’s list of the world’s-biggest commercial property and casualty insurance brokerages. Both firms have Canadian offices, are incorporated in the Republic of Ireland, and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with principal global headquarters in London.

“Today marks an important milestone towards completing the transaction,” Willis Towers Watson CEO John Haley said Wednesday of the shareholder votes.

The firms are aiming to close the deal during the first half of 2021.

Assuming the merger closes as planned, each Willis Towers Watson shareholder would receive 1.08 Aon shares for each of its Willis Towers Watson shares, plus cash. Aon shareholders will continue to own the same number of Aon shares they hold immediately prior to the closing. Following the closing, existing Aon shareholders will own approximately 62.3% and existing Willis Towers Watson shareholders will own approximately 37.7% of the combined company.

Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., with $17 billion in revenue in 2019, is considered the world’s biggest brokerage by A.M. Best. Marsh & McLennan displaced Aon as the top global commercial P&C brokerage when Marsh & McLennan acquired Jardine Lloyd Thompson in 2019. Placing fourth and fifth were Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and Hub international Ltd., with $7 billion and $2.4 billion respectively in revenues in 2019. Both Gallagher and Hub have made several acquisitions in Canada in recent years.

Placing 12th was NPF corp. New York City-based NFP announced this past February that several Canadian brokerages it bought are being re-branded to NFP. Those include Dalton Timmis Insurance Group Inc., McLean Hallmark Insurance Group Ltd., Indemnis Trade Risk Management Limited, Mass Insurance Brokers Limited and PBL Insurance Limited among others.


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