Willis Group and Towers Watson have announced plans to merge, creating an $18 billion-valued global financial giant.
In a joint announcement this morning, the companies said their respective boards had agreed unanimously to the all-stock merger, with the new entity being named Willis Towers Watson.
“The combination fast-tracks each company’s growth strategy and offers a truly compelling value proposition to our clients.” —Dominic Casserley, Willis“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,” the statement said.
The new company would be advising roughly 80% of the world’s top 1,000 companies, according to Willis Group CEO Dominic Casserley. Casserley stands to become president and deputy CEO of Willis Towers Watson.
“The rationale for the merger is powerful,” Casserley said. “At one stroke, the combination fast-tracks each company’s growth strategy and offers a truly compelling value proposition to our clients.”
Upon completion of the deal, Willis Group Chairman James McCann will be chair of the new company. John Haley, currently CEO of Towers Watson, will be the new entity’s CEO. Each company will nominate another five individuals to the Willis Towers Watson board.
Willis, an insurance broker, has been actively pursuing a merger and acquisition strategy in recent months. It bid for a French broker in April and completed the purchase of London-based specialist insurer Miller at the start of this month.
Towers Watson was itself created through the merger of consultancy firms Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt in 2010.
Haley said the groups “expect to realize substantial efficiencies” through the deal, including “cost synergies” of $100 million to $250 million.
The merger is expected to complete by the end of this year. The full statement with financial details of the merger is available on Willis Group’s website.