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UK & EU regulators wrestle for oversight of Aon / WTW merger: reports

20th October 2020 - Author: Luke Gallin

British and European Union regulators are reportedly debating which authority will have oversight of some of Europe’s largest mergers ahead of a Brexit trade deal deadline in December, including the planned combination of re/insurance brokers Aon and Willis Towers Watson (WTW).

aon-willis-towers-watson-logosA Financial Times article, citing people briefed on the issue, claims that regulators are discussing exactly which entity takes oversight of the $30 billion deal.

The report notes that EU regulators are eager to keep the deal in Brussels and ahead of the deadline, is wrestling with the UK competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), for control of the merger.

While a no deal scenario appears to be increasing in likelihood it remains uncertain what the landscape will look like in the new year. Of course, regulators on both sides of the fence will want to take control over the outcomes of transactions that involve their citizens, but as the Financial Times article explains, the deadline is set to bring about some changes.

After the December deadline, the European Commission no longer has control over all mergers with an EU element, including deals that affect the UK, with the CMA set to assume a chunk of these deals as it becomes an independent regulator. This move is expected to increase workload related to mergers at the CMA by up to 50%, and firms will also be subject to probes from both the UK and Brussels for the first time.

After obtaining shareholder approval back in August, the Aon / WTW merger is expected to close in the first-half of next year and deliver distinctive client insight, advanced analytical capabilities, and superior outcomes.

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