Pandemic has ‘reinforced’ value of Aon/WTW merger: Aon CEO Greg Case

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The value of the Aon and Willis Towers Watson merger has “ironically” been reinforced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Aon CEO Greg Case said on Friday.

During the broker’s Q1 results call on Friday, Case responded to an analyst question on the merger and whether Aon could walk away from the deal if it did not go through as originally proposed or whether Aon might consider making a higher bid for WTW.

Case said: “When our shareholders really start to understand and WTW starts to understand what this combination can do. It’s extraordinary, and there’s just no other way to describe it.”

Case played down the downwards movement of the share price following the deal, labelling it “really less relevant in terms of where we are at all.”

He continued: “From our standpoint this is really about the upside and the revenue potential, new solutions for clients, and we’re incredibly excited about it and continue to be. And as I said before, ironically, if there’s one thing about this current crisis, this pandemic really highlights the need for higher octane, higher capability, higher insight.

“And if you want you want that, you go to Aon WTW, that’s really what we’re talking about. So that’s been one of the observations our shareholders have made.”

Christa Davies, Aon chief financial officer, added that the group is “even more excited [about the merger] today than when we announced it on 9 March.”

Shareholders votes on the deal are expected to take place in Q3, Davies confirmed.

The all-stock deal, worth $29.9bn (£23.8bn), between Aon and WTW was first announced in March, after a cooling off period following previous broken-down merger talks between the broking giants expired.

At the time of the announcement, the deal was expected to give the combined company a value of around $80bn, making it the largest global broker ahead of rival Marsh.

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