The European Commission has given conditional approval for the merger of Aon and Willis Towers Watson.
In a joint statement July 9, the two firms called it "a major step that demonstrates continued progress toward obtaining regulatory clearances for the proposed combination."
Further regulatory approval and clearances, including from U.S. antitrust officials, are still needed.
The European Commission opened an in-depth investigation in December because it it is required to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede competition in Europe.
The EU approval is conditional on full compliance with a substantial set of commitments offered by Aon, including the divestment of central parts of WTW's business to international brokerage company Arthur J. Gallagher. A commission statement said the divestment will improve Gallagher's footprint in Europe and "will thus become a credible alternative to the combined entity post-transaction."
Aon and Willis Towers Watson announced the merger agreement in March 2020, with the combined company to be named Aon and headquartered in London. The plan at the time was to give 63% of the new company to Aon shareholders and 37% to Willis Towers Watson shareholders in an all-stock transaction.