The New Zealand (NZ) Commerce Commission’s ongoing investigation into the proposed $30 billion combination of Aon and Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has been extended once more, with a conclusion now expected by August 20th, 2021.
This is the second time New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has extended its deadline after launching an enquiry into the transaction between the two global insurance and reinsurance brokers.
Initially, the NZ Commission had set a decision date of May 25th, but failure to reach a decision on whether to approve the deal resulted in that date being pushed back to July 2nd.
But it appears that despite this initial extension, the NZ Commission is not yet ready to approve the merger and has now set a new deadline of August 20th.
The announcement from the NZ Commission comes days after the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said that it had identified areas of the proposed deal for further review, after commencing a public consultation on the deal back in April.
On the same day, the Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA) called on Aon and WTW to make a number of significant divestments to remedy competition concerns in the country.
In an effort to satisfy antitrust concerns in Europe as the European Commission (EC) continues its enquiry into the proposed merger, Aon and WTW have already agreed to numerous divestments, including the sale of Willis Re and other WTW assets to Arthur J. Gallagher.
This was followed by a series of other divestments in the U.S. as the entities looked to alleviate competition concerns raised by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).
However, the DoJ views the current divestments as insufficient to satisfy its concerns and has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the mega-merger.
Recently, the DoJ proposed that the trial not commence until February of next year, which Aon and WTW described as “untenable” and warned of the damaging impact this could have.