Aon-WTW deal comes under further competition scrutiny
The mega merger between global broking giants Aon Plc and Willis Towers Watson (WTW) continues to be under the watchful eye of regulators the world over, and this time it’s the turn of Singapore to scrutinize the deal.
In the affluent Southeast Asian country, Aon is active in the areas of commercial risk, reinsurance, retirement, health, and data and analytics. WTW, meanwhile, is active in Singapore in business segments such as human capital and benefits; corporate risk and broking; and investment, risk, and reinsurance.
Now the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) is inviting public feedback on the proposed business combination. The consultation runs until 2pm local time on Friday, April 16.
“CCCS received a notification from Aon for a decision on the proposed transaction, and is now assessing whether [it] would infringe section 54 of the Competition Act, which prohibits mergers that have resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market in Singapore,” stated the statutory board, which is empowered by the Act to investigate possible anti-competitive activities.
Read more: Aon-WTW merger sees competition watchdog tug of war
Last December, it was announced that the mammoth deal between Aon and WTW – which both maintain headquarters in the UK while domiciled in Ireland – was undergoing closer examination by the European Commission (EC) under the European Union’s merger regulation.
At the time, Margrethe Vestager noted: “We have opened an in-depth investigation to assess carefully whether the transaction could lead to negative effects for competition, less choice, and higher prices for European customers in the commercial risk brokerage market.”
Vestager is the EC’s executive vice president in charge of competition policy. Probes conducted by the commission are designed to prevent market concentrations that significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it.
Respectively, Aon and WTW are present in over 120 and 140 countries. Their merger was initially expected to complete in the first half of the year, but a proxy statement released by Aon in March assumes that the combination will become effective beyond the company’s annual general meeting which takes place in June.