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Aon-WTW deal still to clear regulatory hurdles

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Aon’s proposed US$30 billion ($39 billion) merger with Willis Towers Watson is still awaiting regulatory clearances as the European Commission considers commitments lodged this month to address competition concerns, while authorities in other countries are also completing reviews.

The European Commission, which opened an in-depth investigation in December, has extended its provisional deadline on a decision to July 27 after receiving submissions filed by Aon.

The commission has highlighted concerns about reduced competition in commercial risk brokerage services, re-insurance broking and provision of retirement and health and welfare services to commercial customers.

Media reports have flagged possible divestments of Willis Re, and various broking activities in France, Spain and the Netherlands.

Singapore’s Competition and Consumer Commission this month called for public feedback on the deal, with its review focused on retirement benefit and human capital consulting services. Submissions closed on Friday.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is due to release a decision on May 27, while the New Zealand Commerce Commission is scheduled to make its decision by May 25.

Aon declined to comment on the regulatory approvals process when contacted by insuranceNEWS.com.au.

The company said during a February results briefing that it was confident of completing the transaction in the first half of this year. First quarter earnings will be released on Friday next week.