Willis Group Holdings PLC, the world's third-largest insurance broker, and Towers Watson & Co., the world's fifth-largest investment consultant by assets under advisement, announced on Tuesday they have agreed to an all-stock merger creating a firm with a combined market value of $18 billion.
Once the transaction closes, the newly combined advisory and insurance company will be named Willis Towers Watson and be domiciled in Ireland.
Upon completion of the merger, which is expected to close by Dec. 31, Willis shareholders will own approximately 50.1% and Towers Watson shareholders will own approximately 49.9% of the combined company.
Willis Chairman James McCann will become chairman of the combined company and Towers Watson CEO John Haley will become CEO. Willis CEO Dominic Casserley will be deputy CEO. The new board will consist of 12 directors — six nominated by Willis and six by Towers Watson, including Messrs. Haley and Casserley. Additionally, Roger Millay, CFO at Towers Watson, will be CFO of the merged entity.
“We have complementary strategic priorities, product and service offerings and geographies to deliver significant value to both sets of shareholders,” said Mr. Haley in a conference call announcing the merger.
Mr. Casserley added in the same call that the merger will expand Towers Watson's reach “by more than 80 countries.”
The combined company will have approximately 39,000 employees in more than 120 countries and revenue of approximately $8.2 billion.
Towers Watson had $2.2 trillion in assets under advisement as of June 30, 2014, and provides outsourced management to $68 billion in client assets, Pensions & Investments data show.