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(Reuters) – The Justice Department said on Wednesday it would sue to stop insurance broker Aon PLC’s $30 billion acquisition of Willis Towers Watson PLC.
The Justice Department complaint cites an unnamed Aon executive who told colleagues, “We have more leverage than we think we do and will have even more when (the) Willis deal is closed. .... We operate in an oligopoly which not everyone understands.”
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, listed five areas of concern including identifying appropriate health benefits plans for big customers and plans for property, casualty, and financial risk for large customers.
In a joint statement, Aon and Willis said they disagreed with the Justice Department's action, "which reflects a lack of understanding of our business, the clients we serve and the marketplaces in which we operate."
The companies proposed divestitures to resolve U.S. antitrust concerns but they were insufficient, the department said.
“American companies and consumers rely on competition between Aon and Willis Towers Watson to lower prices for crucial services, such as health and retirement benefits consulting,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Allowing Aon and Willis Towers Watson to merge would reduce that vital competition and leave American customers with fewer choices, higher prices, and lower quality services.”