June 24, 2018
Willis Towers Watson is now ready to do more M&A deals, the broker’s chief executive John Haley has told The Financial Times.
This comes nearly three years after Willis agreed an $18bn merger with Towers Watson, with Haley telling the publication that the process of bringing the companies together was now complete.
“For the first two or three years you can’t really contemplate other acquisitions,” Haley told the FT in an interview.
“We were really bringing together three organisations. We had a lot of work to do.”
However, with the merger complete, Haley said that he was now ready to look for other M&A targets.
“When we scan the horizon, we could acquire someone in any of the areas that we’re [already] in,” he noted.
He said that there were no specific geographic gaps that the company was looking to fill, adding that acquisitions would be in the areas or services “adjacent” to where the company already operated.
Haley said the potential for deals would be measured against the expected returns for using surplus cash for share buybacks.
The FT reported that Willis Towers Watson had bought back $1.1bn of shares since the merger in 2015 with Haley saying that the firm expected to buy back a further $600mn-$800mn of its own stock this year.
“At the moment we feel our stock is undervalued,” he added.