Aon remains on the lookout for further buys

By Simon Challis

MONTE CARLO, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Aon Corp (AOC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sees no threat of a counterbid following its agreed 844 million pound ($1.48 billion) bid for reinsurance broker Benfield (BFD.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and remains on the lookout for further acquisitions, senior executives from the firm said on Sunday.

Asked at a press conference at an industry meeting in Monaco whether he feared rivals would seek to trump its all-cash bid for the UK-based Benfield, Aon Re Global Chief Executive Andrew Appel said, “No, I’m not worried.”

Rival Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc (MMC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) ruled out making a bid for Benfield.

Appel said it was too early to say whether any jobs may be lost as part of the takeover, which cement Aon’s role as the world’s largest reinsurance broker, by swallowing its third-placed rival.

Aon Re, the re-insurance arm of Aon Corp and Benfield each have large offices in London, the center of the European insurance risk market, and a substantial number of employees.

Aon also said it would continue to make more acquisitions if it found attractive targets, having already bought the reinsurance operations of U.S. rival Arthur J Gallagher (AJG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in February for an upfront fee of $30 million.

“If it makes sense to acquire companies that fit our strategy then we would absolutely take a look at them,” said Mike O’Halleran, executive chairman of Aon Re Global.

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