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Towers Watson investors ask judge to approve $90mn class action settlements

Legal office of lawyers, justice and law concept : Wooden judge gavel or a wood hammer and a soundboard used by a judge person on a desk in a courtroom with a blurred brass scale of justice behind.

A long running securities class action lawsuit between Towers Watson and its former investors is nearing its end, after a group of shareholders in the consulting company that merged with Willis in 2016 – to form Willis Towers Watson – asked a federal judge to sign off on two settlements.

Bloomberg Law reports that a $75mn settlement will end litigation in the Eastern District of Virginia over the $18bn merger, alongside a parallel $15mn offer to resolve a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery over the matter.

Litigation against the Towers Watson merger first began in 2017, when both companies were sued in the Eastern District of Virginia by the Cambridge Retirement System, a pension fund. Willis Towers Watson CEO John Haley was among the defendants in that case, along with former Willis Group CEO Dominic Casserley.

Other investors have since joined, but the lawsuit did little to disrupt the combination of Willis and Towers Watson into the world’s third largest insurance broker.

The settlement comes as Willis Towers Watson and Aon face a fresh round of litigation over their impending merger, which is expected to complete in the middle of this year after an antitrust review by the European Commission.

At least five Aon and Willis shareholders have filed suit, including the activist investor Shiva Stein, over disclosure discrepancies and disputes over the fairness of the deal.

In August, both Aon and Willis said the allegations were “without merit”.

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