According to the law firm press release, this action arises from the merger between Towers and Willis (the "Merger"), which closed on January 4, 2016. The Complaint alleges that, in connection with the Merger, Defendants violated provisions of the Exchange Act by issuing false and misleading statements in proxy materials filed with the SEC. Prior to the Merger, Towers was a leading global consulting company that helped organizations improve performance through risk management, human resources, actuarial and investment services. Willis, which was based in London, was a multinational risk advisor, insurance brokerage, and reinsurance brokerage company.
On June 30, 2015, Towers and Willis announced that they had entered into an agreement to merge, pursuant to which Towers stockholders would receive 2.649 shares of Willis stock and a $4.87 per share cash dividend in exchange for each Towers share. Under the agreement, Towers shareholders would own 49.9% of the combined entity, with Willis shareholders owning the remaining majority.
The Complaint alleges that, rather than negotiate in the best interests of Towers shareholders, Defendants worked to persuade Towers' Board and Towers shareholders that a meager $5 increase in the special dividend was the most they could extract from Willis. The Complaint further alleges that Defendants made numerous misrepresentations to Towers shareholders to mislead them into accepting consideration from the Merger that was well below fair value for their Towers shares.
On February 20, 2018, the Court issued an Order consolidating Cases and appointing Lead Plaintiff and Counsel. The consolidated Cases shall be identified as "In re Willis Towers Watson plc Proxy Litigation." On March 9, Lead Plaintiff filed an amended Complaint. Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss the amended Complaint on April 13. On July 11, the Court issued an Order granting Defendants' Motions to Dismiss, closing this action. Plaintiffs filed a notice appealing the Dismissal Order on July 30. On August 30, 2019, the Court of Appeals issued a Judgment vacating the District Court's judgment, remanding the case to the District Court for further proceedings. On November 8, Defendants renewed their Motion to dismiss the amended Complaint. On January 31, 2020, the Court issued an Order denying Defendants' renewed Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Class Certification on June 12. On September 4, the Court issued an Order granting Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification.