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Towers Watson CEO sold stock during Willis deal talks: Report

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(Reuters) — Towers Watson & Co. Chief Executive John Haley sold shares in the human resources consultancy for a profit of about $9.7 million while the company was discussing a merger with Willis Group Holdings P.L.C., the Wall Street Journal reported.

The announcement of the $18 billion deal on June 30 wiped out more than $800 million from Towers Watson's market value.

Mr. Haley exercised 106,933 stock options and sold the underlying shares, according to a regulatory filing in March.

The trades took place early in the merger talks and were cleared by Towers Watson's legal team, the Journal reported on Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the situation.

Mr. Haley has said he plans to head the combined company.

Towers Watson did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

The company's shares closed at $120.16 on Wednesday, down nearly 13% from June 29, representing a loss of about $1.2 billion in its market value.