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Cross-border teams at Gibson Dunn and Weil advise on $18bn Willis and Towers Watson merger

US duo Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Weil, Gotshal & Manges have won key roles on the headline merger of Willis Group Holdings, one of the world’s oldest insurance broker, and human resources consultancy Towers Watson, for $18bn.

On completion of the merger, Willis shareholders will own 50.1% and Towers Watson’s 49.9% of the combined company, named Willis Towers Watson. Under the agreement, companies will combine in an all-stock merger-of-equals deal valued at $18bn, which was unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company.

Gibson Dunn advised long-standing client Tower Watson with Washington DC-based corporate partner, co-chair of the firm’s M&A practice, and relationship manager Stephen Glover leading the team, alongside tax partner Art Pasternak, partner Michael Collins for employee benefits and partner Adam Di Vincenzo on antitrust.

The deal also saw partners advise from the firm’s London and New York offices with London corporate chair Charlie Geffen (pictured) plus corporate partners Nigel Stacey and James Barabas, while head of the competition Ali Nikpay also advised on the deal out of the City. New York tax partner Jeffrey Trinklein advised on tax issues.

‘This is a fantastic example of the kind of deals we want to be working on,’ Stacey told Legal Business. ‘The structuring on this deal was complex. Clients, in particular banks, understand that they want one law firm that can advise on all aspects of the deal.’

Weil Gotshal represented Willis, with corporate chairman Michael Aiello and corporate partner Matthew Gilroy handling the matter in New York, alongside London-based corporate partner Peter King. Matheson also advised Willis on legal matters. Debevoise & Plimpton was advising Perella Weinberg Partners, as financial adviser to Willis, led by corporate partner and co-head of the firm’s M&A group Gregory Gooding out of New York.

Domiciled in Ireland, the combined company will house around 39,000 employees in over 120 countries.