Aon confirmed today it is weighing up a bid for Willis Towers Watson in what could be the insurance sector’s largest-ever merger.
Willis Towers Watson’s shares had jumped to an all-time high after Bloomberg reported Aon was mulling a move for the Nasdaq-listed business.
Aon later confirmed that it was in the early stages of considering a merger with Willis Towers Watson’s.
“The company emphasises that, at this point, its evaluation of a potential transaction is at a preliminary stage and there can be no certainty that any transaction will take place nor as to the form or terms on which any transaction might be pursued,” it said in a statement.
“A further announcement will be made in due course, as appropriate,” it said.
A deal between the two could create a business with a market capitalisation in excess of $60bn (£45bn).
Willis Towers Watson’s shares closed up five per cent at $182.04, while Aon closed down nearly eight per cent on $157.13.
There has been a wave of consolidation in the insurance sector recently, with deals including Marsh & McLennan agreeing in September to take over UK insurance and reinsurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson in a £4.3bn deal and Axa and XL merging last year in a $15bn tie-up.
Willis, the world’s oldest insurance broker, merged with human resources consultancy Towers Watson in 2016.
The deal allowed Willis to better compete with now potential acquirer Aon and rival Marsh & McLennan.
Willis Towers Watson declined to comment.