Towers Watson and Willis Group Holdings merger gets the green light from shareholders, with shares in both companies finishing on a high on Friday

 
Hayley Kirton
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A picture taken on June 26, 2012 shows a
The companies expect the deal to close early next year (Source: Getty)

Shareholders gave the green light to the merger between Towers Watson and Willis Group Holdings on Friday.

The merger between the professional services firm and the insurance broker, which was first approved by the companies’ boards of directors back in June, suffered a setback in November when key Towers Watson shareholders refused to back the deal, forcing the companies to reassess the terms of the arrangement

The market reacted positively to Friday's news. Shares in Towers Watson finished 4.4 per cent higher for the day, while shares in Willis Group closed up 3.8 per cent.

“We are pleased with the outcome of today’s vote and thank all of our shareholders for their support,” said John Haley, chairman and chief executive of Towers Watson. “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.”

Dominic Casserley, chief executive of Willis, added: “With the support of our shareholders, we are now focused on completing the transaction, successfully integrating the businesses and realizing the combination’s full value creation potential.”

The two companies expect the deal to close sometime very early in the new year, subject to receiving necessary regulatory approvals. The newly merged company also plans to adopt the name Willis Towers Watson.