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Aon shareholders approve moving headquarters to London

Aon shareholders approve moving headquarters to London

CHICAGO—Aon Corp. shareholders have approved the relocation of the broker's headquarters to London from Chicago.

The approval came at a shareholder meeting on Friday afternoon. A spokesman for Aon said that more than 82% of the outstanding shares were voted at the meeting and that of those, more than 98% were voted in favor.

Aon announced its intention to move its headquarters to London in January. At the time, Aon President and CEO Greg Case said it is another step in the firm's strategic plan to grow Aon as a global platform. In particular, London will help Aon grow its business in emerging markets, he said at the time.

Aon also said it expects to reap tax benefits from the move.

In a January filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission announcing its intention to move its headquarters to London, Aon said it expects to “drive significant value to shareholders” under the U.K. territorial tax system in three primary ways:

• Aon said it expects “greater financial flexibility of future free cash flow.”

• It will have access to about $300 million of excess capital held internationally on the balance sheet upon the close of the transaction.

• The brokerage expects to increase “future cash flows through a significant reduction in our global effective tax rate, due primarily to changes in the geographical distribution of income,” Aon said in its filing. “A reduction in our global tax rate over the long term, similar to the reduction achieved over the last five years, would allow Aon to remain competitive with certain global competitors.”

Aon said in January that Mr. Case will maintain a presence in Chicago and London.

Up to 20 Aon staff members, including about 50% of the executive committee, will transfer to London as part of the move, including Steve McGill, chairman and CEO of Aon Risk Solutions; Christa Davis, chief financial officer; and Peter Lieb, executive vp and general counsel.

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