Aon and Willis Towers Watson are confirming the European Commission’s conditional approval of the two companies’ proposed merger.
“This is a major step that demonstrates continued progress toward obtaining regulatory clearances for the proposed combination,” said the companies, in a press release. “Both firms operate across broad, competitive areas of the economy and believe this approval affirms that our proposed combination will accelerate innovation on behalf of clients, creating more choice in an already dynamic and competitive marketplace.”
The conditional approval comes on the heels of an antitrust suit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice last month, which asserts the deal could eliminate competition, raise prices and hamper innovation for U.S. businesses, employers and unions that use the companies’ services.
In response to concerns raised by European and U.S. regulators, both companies have agreed to sell parts of their respective businesses. In June, Aon announced the sale of its U.S. retirement business to Aquiline Capital Partners and its retiree health exchange business to Alight Solutions for a total of US$1.4 billion. A month earlier, the companies agreed to sell Willis Re and a set of Willis Towers Watson’s corporate risk and broking, as well as health and benefits services, to Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. for $US3.57 billion.