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Aon, Willis Towers Watson to Sell Assets to Gallagher for $3.57 Billion

The deal puts the merger between Aon and Willis Towers Watson back on track to forming the largest insurance brokerage in the world.
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aon, willis towers watson to sell assets to gallagher for $3.57 billion

The merger between Aon Plc and Willis Towers Watson took a giant step forward after they agreed to sell Willis Re and other assets to Arthur J. Gallagher & Co for $3.57 billion.

The deal, which involves a swathe of Willis Towers Watson's assets including its reinsurance arm, corporate risk and broking, and health and benefits services looks set to satisfy anti-trust issues raised by the European Commission, which means that the merger between Aon and Willis Towers Watson merger can now go ahead.

“This agreement demonstrates strong momentum on the path to close our proposed combination with Willis Towers Watson," said Greg Case, CEO of Aon. “We've used this time to align our future leadership team around a one-firm culture that will create new opportunities for colleagues, accelerate innovation on behalf of clients and deliver shareholders the long-term value creation they have come to expect from our team."

The combination of the two giants has been held up since last year, but after the sale of assets to Gallagher the companies are back on track to create the largest insurance brokerage in the world. The deal, which unifies the second and third largest brokers globally into a company worth more than $90 billion, will see them overtake market leader Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc.

“We announced this combination knowing that the complementary capabilities of our two firms would allow us to deliver more value to clients and opportunities for colleagues," said John Haley, CEO of Willis Towers Watson. “The events of the last year have only reinforced that rationale, and this announcement is an important step toward realizing that potential. We appreciate the extraordinary value these colleagues have delivered to our clients and our company. We are confident they have a bright future at Gallagher."

Gallagher is a global leader in insurance, risk management and consulting services—generating more than $6 billion in 2020 revenue. The company is headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and has more than 34,000 employees in 56 countries.

“This acquisition will accelerate our long-term strategy by significantly expanding our global value proposition in reinsurance, broadening our retail brokerage footprint and strengthening key niches and specialty brokerage offerings," said J. Patrick Gallagher Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Gallagher, in a statement.

“The powerful combination of expertise, geographic reach and scale that this acquisition presents will greatly enhance our offerings to clients and prospects, while also providing significant value for our colleagues, carrier partners and shareholders," he added. “Most importantly, I look forward to welcoming more than 6,000 new colleagues to our growing Gallagher family of professionals."

William Jones is IA editor-in-chief.