The deadline for approval of the proposed merger of insurance and reinsurance broking giants Aon and Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has been pushed back by just over two months, as a package of concessions has now been received and the European Commission (EC) restarted the clock on the process.
The EC had previously stopped the clock on the merger deliberations as it awaited further details from Aon and Willis Towers Watson (WTW).
Our sister publication Reinsurance News had previously reported that progress was being made on a remedy package proposal for European Commission regulators as the merger parties looked to avoid publication of a statement of objections.
A sale of Willis Re, the reinsurance broking unit, was said to be among the proposals and other reports suggest some commercial broking units such as WTW’s French operations under Gras Savoye are also among possible divestiture remedies.
There have also been reports that the US competition authorities may have concerns related to reinsurance.
Now, the EC has updated its website page for the merger and reports that “commitments” were received on April 9th.
It’s assumed these concessions are likely to include details of divestments that Aon and Willis Towers Watson are willing to make, so could include the reinsurance unit, or other commercial broking units, as those have been said to be in focus.
With the receipt of these commitments, the EC has now restarted the clock on the merger deliberations, but at the same time has pushed the deadline out.
Originally, the EC had a deadline of May 10th 2021 to come to a decision on the acquisition of WTW by Aon.
Now, the deadline has been moved to July 12th 2021, so slipping by two full months and potentially taking closure of the merger into the second-half of the year.
Executives at Aon and WTW have been focused on trying to seal their transaction in the first-half of the year, but that now seems less likely within an extended deadline from the EC.