Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Global Consulting Firms Towers Perrin, Watson Wyatt to Merge in $3.5 Billion Deal

Global consulting and professional services firms Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby and Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc. said they've agreed to combine in a deal they dubbed "a merger of equals" with an equity value of $3.5 billion.

The newly merged company, to be called Towers Watson & Co., will be publicly listed, with estimated annual revenues of more than $3 billion. The Arlington, Va.-based Watson Wyatt (NYSE, NASDAQ: WW | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating) says it has 7,700 associates in 34 countries, while the Stamford, Conn.-based Towers Perrin says it employs about 6,300 people in 26 countries.

Towers Watson & Co. will focus on three areas -- benefits, "talent and rewards," and risk and financial services -- building on existing staff and research, and operate in four geographic regions -- North America; Europe, Middle East and Africa; Asia Pacific; and Latin America.

The combination requires approval by each company's shareholders, with a vote expected in the fourth quarter and a closing date soon after, subject to regulatory approvals.

John Haley, chief executive officer Watson Wyatt, would become CEO of the new company, while Mark Mactas, CEO of Towers Perrin, will become president.

"The combination of Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt into Towers Watson will create one of the world?s leading professional services firms, well positioned for sustained growth and profitability across all geographies and business segments,? said Haley, in a statement. ?The combination will further strengthen our core service lines while offering our clients an enhanced portfolio of proven offerings across a range of financial, risk and people management areas."

Watson Wyatt services to businesses worldwide include managing the cost and effectiveness of employee benefit programs; developing human resources strategies; advising pension plan sponsors and other institutions on investment strategies; providing strategic and financial advice to insurance and financial services companies; and providing related technology and outsourcing services.

Towers Perrin provides services to businesses worldwide in the areas of human resources strategy, program design and management, and in risk management, insurance and reinsurance intermediary services, and actuarial consulting.

"Our service lines and geographic strengths are also highly complementary, which creates great opportunities for growth," said Mactas, in a statement. The merged companies "will change the landscape of our industry," he said.

Under the, deal, Watson Wyatt shareholders can receive 50% of the combined company?s shares on a fully diluted basis. Towers Perrin shareholders, who are active employees of Towers Perrin, plus a group of Towers Perrin employees to be designated to receive some equity incentive awards, can receive 50% of the combined company?s shares on a fully diluted basis.

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