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NZ Commerce Commission reviews Aon-WTW divestments

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New Zealand’s Commerce Commission is assessing whether undertakings by Aon and Willis Towers Watson resolve its preliminary competition concerns over a planned merger of the brokerages.

“As part of its assessment, the commission will be contacting a range of market participants to discuss the proposed undertaking,” the commission says in an update released last week.

The commission is scheduled to decide whether to grant clearance for the deal by August 20, but says the date may change as the investigation continues.

Aon plans to divest parts of the Willis Towers Watson business in various markets to global broker Arthur J Gallagher, whose operations include the Crombie Lockwood business in New Zealand.

The divestment would include Willis Towers Watson’s largest commercial risk broking customers serviced out of New Zealand, comprising about two thirds of gross written premium placed by the local business.

Also included would be various tangible and intangible assets, to the extent that those are required by Gallagher/Crombie Lockwood.

The deal has gained preliminary EU regulatory clearance but the US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to block the deal.