Towers Watson, the global professional services firm, has merged with Willis Group, a global insurance broker and risk advisory firm in a deal valued at $18 billion. The transaction is expected to close at the end of the year.
Towers Watson, which has more than $20 billion of capital for real estate investments worldwide under advice, traditionally has invested alongside other institutional investors in funds or other commingled investment vehicles. The firm also has made a joint venture investment as the sole investment partner with London-listed property investment firm First Property Group.
Willis’ exposure to real estate focuses on providing risk management services to real estate companies.
The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of each company, will see Willis shareholders will own approximately 50.1 percent and Towers Watson shareholders own approximately 49.9 percent of the combined company – named Willis Towers Watson.
Willis Towers Watson will have approximately 39,000 employees in over 120 countries, and pro forma revenue of approximately $8.2 billion and an EBITDA of over $1.7 billion for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014.
“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,” commented John Haley, chairman and chief executive of Towers Watson.
Upon closing of the transaction, Willis’ chairman James McCann will become chairman of the combined company, while Haley will be chief executive and Dominic Casserley, Willis’ chief executive, will be president and deputy CEO.
The new company’s board will consist of 12 directors – six nominated by Willis and six by Towers Watson, including Towers Watson’s and Willis’ current CEOs.
Willis received legal advice from Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Matheson, and financial advice from Perella Weinberg Partners. Towers Watson received legal advice from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and financial advice from BofA Merrill Lynch.