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The proposed $18bn merger-of-equals between Towers Watson and Willis has got the green light after shareholders approved the new terms of the deal.
Each company held a shareholder meeting today (11 December) to vote on the deal, after adjourning their original meetings in light of strong opposition from certain Towers Watson shareholders (IERM, 18 November Towers Watson and Willis merger meetings postponed).
New terms were proposed after the adjournment, increasing the pre-merger special cash dividend to be paid to Towers Watson shareholders to $10 per share, up from $4.87.
However, opposition to the new terms was strong before today’s vote, with one Towers Watson shareholder branding the proposed deal a “take-under”, transferring value from Towers Watson to Willis (IERM, 10 December Towers Watson shareholder brands proposed Willis deal a “take-under”).
With today’s announcement, the deal is expected to close early in the New Year subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of certain regulatory approvals. The newly formed group will trade under the name Willis Towers Watson.
Towers Watson chief executive John Haley said: “We are confident that combining Towers Watson and Willis will accelerate both companies’ long-term strategies and create substantial incremental value for shareholders. We look forward to working with Willis to successfully complete the transaction and realise the full benefits of the merger for all of our stakeholders.”
Willis chief executive Dominic Casserley added: “With the support of our shareholders, we are now focused on completing the transaction, successfully integrating the businesses and realising the combination’s full value creation potential. These efforts are well underway, and we expect that they will create substantial incremental shareholder value through revenue, cash flow and EBITDA growth superior to what either company could achieve independently.”