Aon plc (Aon) has withdrawn its request for merger clearance by the ACCC of its proposed acquisition of Willis Towers Watson plc (WTW), having decided to terminate their proposed merger.
Aon and WTW are two of the three largest providers of commercial risk, reinsurance and employee benefits broking and advisory services in Australia and globally.
The ACCC’s preliminary view was that the proposed merger would substantially lessen competition in the supply of commercial risk, reinsurance and employee benefits broking and advisory services in Australia.
The ACCC’s investigation indicated Aon and WTW are two of the three major brokers capable of providing commercial risk broking to large customers, reinsurance broking and employee benefits services in Australia.
“We were concerned that the combination of Aon and WTW would have removed a significant competitive constraint and might have led to price increases or reduced levels of service for large commercial insurance customers, insurers and customers requiring employee benefits in Australia” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.
“Mergers between close competitors in highly concentrated markets will attract close ACCC scrutiny.”
The ACCC began its merger review on 2 October 2020 and expressed preliminary concerns about the transaction in a Statement of Issues on 18 February 2021.
The ACCC’s review has been suspended since 23 April 2020 while awaiting information from the merger parties.
As part of our review the ACCC closely engaged with the US Department of Justice, European Commission and New Zealand Commerce Commission, amongst other competition regulators globally. The ACCC will continue to work closely with overseas agencies on these important competition issues.
Aon and WTW are both global professional services firms that provide, globally and in Australia, commercial insurance, reinsurance and employee benefits broking and advisory services.
The ACCC’s Statement of Issues is available on our public register.
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