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Willis Subsidiary Buys Attain

Zacks Equity Research

Willis Risk Services, the Ireland-based subsidiary of Willis Group Holdings Plc (WSH), announced that it has entered into a deal to acquire Attain Consulting and its sister company Trustee Principles. The financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Attain Consulting primarily provides traditional pension consulting, pension scheme review consulting, industrial relations management and human resource conflict management services while Trustee Principles mainly provides pension trusteeship services.

The acquisition is expected to enhance Willis Risk’s employee benefits business as the experienced staff of Attain Consulting will perk up the quality of service provided to clients. Furthermore, the takeover will increase the strength of its employee benefits workforce to 70 from 60, thereby making the company’s actuarial team one of the largest in the U.S.

Following the acquisition, Trustee Principles will expand its service offerings to provide all kinds of trustee services. Moreover, the actuarial and legal support provided by Willis Risk will help the company to expand its client base considerably.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Willis Group’s second-quarter 2012 currently stands at 59 cents per share, down about 3.9% year-over-year. 3 of the 13 estimates were revised downward in the past 30 days, while no upward revisions were witnessed.

The company competes with Arthur J Gallagher & Co. (AJG), Aon Corporation (AON), Validus Holdings, Ltd. (VR) and Erie Indemnity Co. (ERIE).

We maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on the shares of Willis. The company currently carries a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold rating.

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