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EU to approve Aon-Willis merger; No more unlikely concessions: Reuters

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Insurance broker Aon is expected to obtain conditional EU competition approval for its $ 30 billion bid for Willis Towers Watson without having to offer more concessions, people familiar with the matter said.

Aon, which struck the deal a year ago to create the world’s largest insurance broker ahead of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., offered concessions to the European Commission earlier this month.

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Following comments from competitors and customers last week, the EU’s competition official has asked for some adjustments, but he’s unlikely to ask for more concessions, people said.

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Aon could have faced a accusation sheet called the Statement of Objections which sets out the EU’s concerns if the market reaction had been negative and if it had subsequently refused to offer more concessions. It is not now, the people said.

The concession package includes the sale of part of Willis’ assets, including its German reinsurance business and pension benefits and consultancy business, people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

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The concessions also include the sale of Willis’ insurance brokerage activities in France, including the French unit Gras Savoye, as well as in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Willis’ entire portfolio of property and casualty businesses serving large multinationals in these four countries and other European assets to serve these customers, as well as its financial and professional lines, will also be sold.

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The Commission and Aon declined to comment.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Editing by Jane Merriman and Mark Potter)

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