Blackstone (NYSE: BX) today announced that private equity funds affiliated with Blackstone have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Aon plc’s (NYSE:AON) technology-enabled benefits and human resources (“HR”) platform, currently part of Aon Hewitt, for cash consideration of up to $4.8 billion, including $4.3 billion at closing and additional consideration of up to $500 million based on future performance.
Blackstone and Aon to Work Together on Behalf of Shared Clients and Prospects; Aon to Remain Economically Aligned with Business’ Future Performance
New York, February 10, 2017 – Blackstone (NYSE: BX) today announced that private equity funds affiliated with Blackstone have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Aon plc’s (NYSE:AON) technology-enabled benefits and human resources (“HR”) platform, currently part of Aon Hewitt, for cash consideration of up to $4.8 billion, including $4.3 billion at closing and additional consideration of up to $500 million based on future performance.
The business is the largest benefits administration platform in the United States, and a leading services provider for cloud-based HR management systems. It serves approximately 15 percent of the U.S. working population across more than 1,400 companies. Aon and the new, stand-alone company will continue to work together on behalf of shared clients and prospects.
Peter Wallace, a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, said, “We are excited to acquire a world-class leader of scale in health, retirement, and HR services, providing critical human resources and benefits administration services to millions of employees and their families throughout the United States and Canada. Blackstone sees tremendous opportunity for investing in leading businesses within the technology-enabled services sector, where we believe there is a significant opportunity to accelerate future growth. We look forward to working with the excellent management team to continue to invest in and grow the company.”
David Kestnbaum, a Managing Director at Blackstone, said, “Through this investment and partnership, we will seek to leverage our global relationships, operational support, and strong capital base to accelerate growth in the business. We are pleased to invest in this market leading business that provides an important suite of services to a broad range of blue-chip clients. Our focus will be on ensuring continued delivery of best-in-class services to clients, while also innovating new service lines and strategies to expand the company’s capabilities.”
Aon plc, President & CEO Greg Case said, “This transaction sharpens our focus on growing our core professional services capabilities and accelerates our ability to invest in emerging client needs, while ensuring that clients continue to receive the level of service and performance they have come to expect. We believe that this platform will thrive under Blackstone’s ownership as a focused, standalone company and look forward to working with the expert management team in place to support our shared clients and prospects.”
Aon’s Chris Michalak, CEO of the new, standalone business said, “The opportunity before us is tremendous. Under new ownership with Blackstone, our clients will benefit from increased focus, innovation and investment in our already market-leading benefits and HR administration solutions. I am excited to lead our team of 22,000 colleagues forward into this new era with Blackstone.”
Citigroup, Credit Suisse, and SMB Capital are acting as financial advisors to Blackstone with respect to the transaction, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as Blackstone’s legal counsel. Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor to Aon with respect to the transaction, and Sidley Austin LLP is acting as Aon’s legal counsel. Debt financing related to the transaction is being provided by BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Macquarie, Deutsche Bank, and Morgan Stanley.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2017.
Blackstone is one of the world’s leading investment firms. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our asset management businesses, with over $360 billion in assets under management, include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com. Follow Blackstone on Twitter @Blackstone.
Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 72,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative risk and people solutions.
For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit: http://aon.mediaroom.com.
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