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Canada Reviews Aon-Willis Deal

 |  July 6, 2021

Canada’s competition regulator is reviewing the proposed merger of global brokerages Aon and Willis Towers Watson, but the federal government is not saying whether it has actually received any complaints.

The US$30-billion deal, originally announced in March 2020, was approved by shareholders of Aon and Willis Towers Watson in August 2020. If completed, the deal would form the world’s largest commercial property and casualty insurance brokerage. Marsh & McLennan is the biggest brokerage worldwide at the moment, thanks in part to Marsh acquiring Jardine Lloyd Thompson in 2018.

Willis Towers Watson and Aon cannot actually operate together until the deal closes, Aon CEO Greg Case said this past February during a conference call discussing Aon’s 2020 financial results.

The United States justice department asked a US court in mid-June to block the deal. Both Aon and Willis are headquartered in Dublin, with major executive offices in London. Both are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The deal is still conditional upon approval from competition regulators in several jurisdictions, including Canada.

A spokesperson for Canada’s Competition Bureau confirmed last week to Canadian Underwriter that it is reviewing Aon’s proposed acquisition of Willis Towers Watson.

“Under the Competition Act, mergers of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy are subject to review by the Commissioner of Competition to determine whether they will likely result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in any market in Canada,” the spokesperson told Canadian Underwriter.

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