(Bloomberg) – Aon Plc considers an offer to buy rival insurance brokerage Willis Towers Watson Plc, according to people familiar with the case, in what might be the industry's largest merger.
Aon is preparing to submit a bid for Willis Towers in the coming weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the case is not public. The companies have had preliminary talks, the people said. No final decision has been made, and Aon may choose not to proceed with an offer, they said.
Aon, an insurance brokerage and consulting business in 120 countries, moved its headquarters to London from Chicago in 2012, taking many of its leading employees abroad. The company's main Chicago leader is now Michael O & # 39; Connor, who was appointed co-president in May.
Shares of Willis Towers jumped up to 8.3 percent at the highest price ever and traded at $ 1
Aon's representative refused to comment while Willis Towers could not be immediately reached for comment.
Brokers – helping connect businesses looking for insurance coverage – have been aggressively joining in recent years to diversify, raise commissions, and serve customers who increasingly want to deal with fewer middlemen.
Purchasing Willis Towers will potentially allow Aon to take over Marsh & McLennan Cos. as the world's largest broker of revenue, according to data prepared by Bloomberg. Willis Towers is the world's third largest brokerage while Aon is No. 2.
Willis Towers was formed in 2016 through Willis Group Holdings Plc's $ 8.9 billion purchase by the consulting firm Towers Watson & Co., the largest insurance brokerage agreement to date.