Unconfirmed rumors: AON will not buy its rival WTW

7 March 2019 — Andrei Victor
"Re/insurance brokerage Aon in talks to buy rival Willis Towers Watson" - titled international financial media in the past days. Yesterday, AON confirmed that it does not intend to pursue a deal to acquire rival broker Willis Towers Watson.

"Consistent with AON's stated focus on return on invested capital the firm regularly evaluates a variety of potential opportunities within and adjacent to its industry. Aon had considered such a possibility with regard to Willis Towers Watson. News of that consideration subsequently became public and AON was required to issue a statement because Willis Towers Watson is an Irish company and is subject to Irish regulatory requirements. As a result of media speculation, those regulations required AON to make the disclosure at a very early stage in the consideration of a potential all-share business combination. AON today confirms that it does not intend to pursue this business combination", announced AON in a statement.

"AON Plc is considering a combination with rival insurance brokerage Willis Towers Watson Plc, in what could be the industry's largest ever merger", wrote bloomberg at the begining of the week, adding that "the companies have held preliminary talks and AON is preparing to submit a bid in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified as the details aren't public".

"The potential all-stock transaction is at a preliminary stage and there is no certainty that it will take place", wrote Reuters quoting Aon representatives.

In September 2018, U.S. financial services group Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc agreed to buy British re/insurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson, for an estimated value of USD 5.6 billion.

"The AON-WILLIS merger could be the largest among insurance brokers amid volatility surrounding Britain's impending exit from the European Union and trade tensions between Beijing and Washington threatening appetites", emphasized Reuters.

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