Willis Towers Watson is now in a position to do more deals, the firm’s boss has told the Financial Times almost three years to the day since the $18bn merger of Willis and Towers Watson was announced.
The statement suggests the combined firm has made significant strides since this time last year when John Haley told the publication that the merger had been “more difficult than we thought”.
But in an interview published on Sunday, Haley said: “We were really bringing together three organisations. We had a lot of work to do.”
Now, he said, the merger is complete and the newly-combined entity is in a position to look for other potential targets.
“When we scan the horizon, we could acquire someone in any of the areas that we’re [already] in,” Haley told the FT.
He noted that there were no specific geographic gaps in the company’s reach, adding that acquisitions would be in the areas or services “adjacent” to where the firm already operated.
The executive said the potential for deals would be measured against the expected returns for using surplus cash for share buybacks.
The FT reported that Willis Towers Watson had bought back $1.1bn of shares since the merger in 2015 with Haley saying that it expected to buy back a further $600mn-$800mn of its own stock this year.
“At the moment we feel our stock is undervalued,” Haley told the publication.
Willis Towers Watson’s shares closed at $154.16 on Nasdaq on Friday, valuing the firm at $20bn.