Aon plc, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, confirmed today that the European Commission (EC) has initiated a Phase II review in connection with its combination with Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company. The Phase II review is a common next step in the review process for a transaction of this size and complexity under EU Merger Regulation and the firm remains on track to close the combination in the first half of 2021.
As stated previously, Aon’s and Willis Towers Watson’s businesses are complementary, operating across broad, very competitive areas of the economy, and Aon remains confident of a positive outcome without any divestitures. Aon expected a thorough review of this combination and will continue to work closely with all the relevant regulators, including the EC. The firm looks forward to continuing its dialogue with the EC throughout the Phase II review process.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said: “Aon and Willis Towers Watson are two leading companies in the market for insurance and re-insurance brokerage. They help companies with their risk management and with finding the right insurers for their needs. We have opened an in-depth investigation to assess carefully whether the transaction could lead to negative effects for competition, less choice and higher prices for European customers in the commercial risk brokerage market.”
Aon and Willis Towers Watson are both leading companies in the markets for commercial risk brokerage services, re-insurance brokerage and provision of retirement and health & welfare services to commercial customers. The Commission is concerned that the proposed transaction could significantly reduce competition in those markets.