Combination offers clients a broader range of advice, analytics, specialty capabilities and solutions covering benefits; brokerage and advisory; talent and rewards; exchange solutions; and risk and capital management across all segments and geographies
Creates integrated global platform to drive long-term growth and market share gain in traditional and new businesses
Merger delivers significant potential to enhance long-term shareholder value through incremental revenue growth, expected cost synergies of $100-125 million, and greater corporate efficiencies
Willis Group Holdings and Towers Watson today announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will combine in an all-stock merger of equals transaction. Based on the closing prices of Willis and Towers Watson common stock on June 29, 2015, the implied equity value of the transaction is approximately $18 billion. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of each company. The combined company will be named Willis Towers Watson.
Upon completion of the merger, terms of which are detailed below, Willis shareholders will own approximately 50.1% and Towers Watson shareholders will own approximately 49.9% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.
The combination of Willis and Towers Watson brings together two highly complementary businesses to create an integrated global advisory, broking, and solutions provider to serve a broad range of clients in existing and new business lines. The combined company will have approximately 39,000 employees in over 120 countries, and pro forma revenue of approximately $8.2 billion and adjusted1/underlying2 EBITDA of over $1.7 billion for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014.3
John Haley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Towers Watson, said, “This is a tremendous combination of two highly compatible companies with complementary strategic priorities, product and service offerings, and geographies that we expect to deliver significant value for both sets of shareholders. We see numerous opportunities to enhance our growth profile by offering integrated solutions that leverage Willis’ global distribution network and superb risk advisory and re/insurance broking capabilities to deliver a more robust set of analytics and product solutions across a broader client base, including accelerating penetration of our Exchange Solutions platform into the fast growing middle-market. We also expect to realize substantial efficiencies by bringing our two organizations together, and have a well-defined integration roadmap to capitalize on identified savings, ensure the strongest combination of talent and practices, and realize the full benefits of the merger for all of our stakeholders.”
Mr. Haley continued, “Importantly, our organizations share a client-first mentality and a focus on providing services and solutions that consistently exceed clients’ expectations. As we bring these two companies together, we are confident associates across both organizations will enjoy increased development opportunities as part of a stronger and more global growth company.”
Dominic Casserley, Willis CEO, said, “These are two companies with world-class brands and shared values. The rationale for the merger is powerful – at one stroke, the combination fast-tracks each company’s growth strategy and offers a truly compelling value proposition to our clients. Together we will help our clients achieve superior performance through effective risk, people and financial management. We will advise over 80% of the world’s top-1000 companies, as well as having a significant presence with mid-market and smaller employers around the world.”
Mr. Casserley continued, “We look forward to bringing Towers Watson’s innovative solutions to our clients alongside our broking and advisory services. The opportunity to deliver significant savings to our growing middle market client base with Towers Watson’s market-leading private exchange platform is particularly attractive.”
Management, Governance and Integration
Upon closing of the transaction, James McCann will become Chairman, John Haley will be Chief Executive Officer and Dominic Casserley will be President and Deputy CEO. The new company’s board will consist of 12 directors total – six nominated by Willis and six by Towers Watson, including Towers Watson’s and Willis’ current CEOs. Additionally, Roger Millay will be CFO.
Dominic Casserley and Gene Wickes from Towers Watson have been chosen to oversee the Integration Team.
After closing, the combined company will maintain its domicile in Ireland and significant presence in major markets around the world.
Approvals and Time to Close
The transaction is expected to close by December 31, 2015, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and approval by both Willis and Towers Watson shareholders.