Willis completes acquisition of Gras Savoye

Willis, Gras Savoye and Astorg announce final closing of the acquisition of Gras Savoye by Willis Group Holdings

Willis Group Holdings plc has announced the completion of its acquisition of Gras Savoye, the leading French insurance broker.

On April 22, 2015, Willis Group announced a firm offer to acquire the remaining 70 per cent of Gras Savoye that it did not own. The transaction completed on December 29, 2015, following acceptance of the offer by Gras Savoye shareholders in late June, consultation with workers’ councils, and the receipt of regulatory approvals.

Willis and Gras Savoye will work together to bring the best of their organisations to clients, enabling them to innovate and implement the right solutions to manage risk and people.

The union creates a powerful international network by combining Willis’s global footprint with Gras Savoye’s particularly strong presence in France, Central and Eastern Europe, and across Africa. Gras Savoye’s expertise in high-growth markets and industry sectors complements Willis’s strengths, creating significant value for clients and a compelling offer for carriers.

Gras Savoye will keep its name and brand. The union with Willis is built on a successful relationship of 40 years that will help ensure a smooth integration.

The merger of equals between Willis and Towers Watson announced on June 30, 2015, is expected to be completed in early 2016. Gras Savoye will be a vital part of Willis Towers Watson, a global business of more than 39,000 people in more than 120 countries.

Gras Savoye will bring unique strengths to the new company:

- A prominent footprint in France, where Gras Savoye is the largest insurance broker and enjoys a leading position in the mid-market sector.

- Access to high-growth markets across Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and over 30 countries in Africa through a comprehensive network.

- The expertise and reach to serve multinationals, especially in France, which is home to 31 of the Fortune Global 500 - a number that ranks it fourth globally and first in Europe.

- Specialist depth in many sectors, including Construction, Natural Resources & Transport, Human Capital & Benefits, and Technology, Media & Telecommunications.

​Dominic Casserley, CEO of Willis Group, said: “This is the next step in a long and successful partnership, and we are delighted to be joining forces with Gras Savoye. Our specialist teams and international footprints are highly complementary, with each strengthening the other. Gras Savoye will also play a crucial role in the new Willis Towers Watson, which is set to launch in early 2016, pending completion of the merger. Together we will unite under a single vision to become the advisory, broking and solutions firm of choice.”

François Varagne, CEO of Gras Savoye, said: “This is excellent news for Gras Savoye's 3,900 colleagues. With Willis we will offer greater opportunities across an increased range of client industries, specialties and countries. We will have market-leading positions in more geographies, deliver unmatched expertise on analytics, and grow our footprint in new markets. I want to thank Astorg and Willis for their strong support to Gras Savoye and my team, which has made this possible.”

Xavier Moreno, Chairman and Managing Partner of Astorg, the private equity investor, said: "We are delighted that Gras Savoye is entering this new, exciting phase of its development strategy following our six-year shareholding period in which Gras Savoye has grown stronger and widened its international network as a result of the tripartite, active and experienced support given to it by Astorg, the management and Willis."

 

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