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WTW looking at strategic options for Willis Re, confirms CEO Haley

3rd August 2021 - Author: Luke Gallin

John Haley, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of global brokerage Willis Towers Watson (WTW), confirmed today that the company is conducting a review of strategic alternatives for its reinsurance arm, Willis Re.

willis-re-logoBack in May, it was announced that Gallagher had reached an agreement with Aon and WTW to acquire Willis Re and certain other WTW assets for $3.57 billion.

The agreement with Gallagher was designed to satisfy competition concerns in Europe as Aon and WTW looked to get their merger approved in jurisdictions around the world.

In July, the European Commission (EC) approved the combination, although this was conditional on full compliance with a substantial set of commitments offered by Aon, including the agreement with Gallagher.

However, failure to appease the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and a reluctance to go down the litigation route, ultimately resulted in Aon and WTW terminating their mega-merger.

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As a result, Gallagher confirmed that its arrangement to acquire Willis Re and other WTW assets had also been terminated.

Today, speaking during WTW’s Q2 2021 earnings call, CEO Haley explained that the firm is actively exploring strategic alternatives for its reinsurance arm.

“The board has authorized us, and our advisors to initiate such a process,” said Haley. “While we highly value the Willis Re platform and our colleagues who contribute to its success, we believe now is an appropriate time to explore strategic alternatives for this business.

“There can be no assurance the strategic alternatives review process will result in a sale of Willis Re, or other strategic change or outcome.”

It’s been widely discussed in the media that Gallagher remains in discussion with WTW over a potential deal, with some suggesting that a transaction could be announced fairly soon, if terms between the parties can be agreed.

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