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  • freeonfxdwg freeonfxdwg Mar 9, 2012 11:33 AM Flag

    Sell US Operations

    None of this made any sense to me until reading the rumors/comments about Wells Fargo looking into buying Willis. With their $$, I wonder if there is an even greater interest in buying Aon's US operations, which would coincide nicely with Case and company's run for the door. Make that run for the door with a big suitcase of money. Any thoughts on this board would be interesting.....

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    • That would make little sense. First, what is meant by 'US Operations'? Risk? Reinsurance? HR/Benefits Consulting/Outsource?

      Granted, everything is for sale at the right, or ridiculous, price. So I will assume that you mean Risk. Assuming that Wells bought 'US Risk Operations' for some huge number, how do they make that acquisition result in cumulative earnings if Case could not? Much of Aon's regional or country markets use or rely upon the mothership's processes, analytics, platforms, etc. Not everywhere or for everything. But there are a lot of dependencies from the move towards integrated platforms that would be messy to unwind. Moreover, a key part of Aon's value proposition is global reach, particularly for global clients. Carving out the US in some manner diminishes that distinction. Finally, read the annual report, people. The bulk of corporate revenue and profit is still from the US. 'Sell US Operations' and then what is left?

      The fundamental problem with this board is that too many of the postings seem to be an effort to stir the pot, start unfounded rumors, or grind their personal ax. There are far too few fact base, balanced, discussions of corporate actions, strategy, and outcomes. It is a form of Gresham's Law - bad posts drive out good.

      Personally, I think the clock is striking 11 for the Greg and Krista Era. The move to London seems like kind of a desperate move from the McKinsey playbook - make a change that seems great on paper (i.e., freeing up the 'stranded' foreign earnings capital) but really does nothing for customer. Moving the incorporation to London in order to be 'closer to the emerging international market' is a silly justification. In the end, it will be an unnecessary distraction. Aon execs, like many of their corporate customers, are constantly on planes. If Aon was not close enough to the EMEA market, then bulk that up. Likewise for APAC. But moving 15 or 20 execs to London will not move the market share needle very much.

      I think Greg and Krista's bag of financial tricks (acquisitions, expense reduction programs (i.e., layoffs), reorgs, and stock buy-backs) are running dry. They probably have a year or two to deliver clear, organic, growth, or they will be jettisoned. They need to be focusing on execution or the ripcord is going to be pulled on their undoubtedly huge golden parachutes. That is my personal prediction.

    • There was an article last week in Bloomberg that noted Wells Fargo was probably looking at Willis. Marsh and Aon are a bit too big for Wells Fargo to swallow. BofA, Chase and Citigroup might be better suitors.

      ....'course, would you REALLY want Aon in it's current condition?

 
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