Watson Wyatt and Towers Perrin to merge in a $3.5 billion deal

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Calling it a merger of equals, Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc. of Arlington and Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby Inc. of Stamford, Conn., plan to combine and form a new public company that would be one of the largest HR consulting firms in the nation. 

The boards of directors of both companies have approved an agreement valued at $3.5 billion, based on the closing price of Watson Wyatt’s common stock on Friday. John Haley, CEO of Watson Wyatt, would head up the combined Towers Watson & Co. while Towers CEO Mark Mactas would serve as president. “The combination … will create one of the world’s leading professional services firms,” Haley said in a statement.

The companies expect $80 million in potential cost synergies over three years and $80 million in one-time costs. The deal, which requires shareholder approval, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.  Watson Wyatt employs 7,700 people in 34 countries, including about 600 people in the Washington, D.C., area. The two companies will be seeking a new headquarters location. 

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