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Aon to acquire leading real estate investment advisor Townsend Group; extending leadership position in investments
Acquisition reinforces Aon's position as a leading global professional services firm providing risk, retirement and health solutions

LONDON, Sept. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Aon, the leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Townsend Group (Townsend), majority owned by Colony NorthStar, Inc., a leading global real estate and investment management firm. Townsend is a leading provider of global investment management and advisory services primarily focused on real estate. This transaction will bolster Aon's offering in alternative private market assets, reflecting the increasingly important role they have in client portfolios.

Aon has agreed to acquire Townsend for $475 million subject to certain purchase price adjustments. The transaction is expected to close over the next six months, subject to customary closing and negotiated conditions. No other financial terms were disclosed by Aon.

With the integration of Townsend's solutions into its Investment business, Aon will significantly expand its investment capabilities, which include outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) services and advisory services for large and mid-sized global organizations. Aon's Investment organization currently manages more than $100 billion of worldwide assets1 and advises on $4.2 trillion of assets globally for more than 2,500 clients around the world.2 Aon is currently one of the top three OCIO providers in the world measured by global assets under management.3 The acquisition of Townsend will bring greater depth of expertise in real estate and real assets to Aon's distribution scale and further Aon's ability to provide more attractive investment opportunities for clients.

"Our clients' investment strategies are focused on driving the strongest risk management and return outcomes, and alternative private market investments are playing an increasingly important role in those strategies," said Cary Grace, chief executive officer of Global Retirement & Investment Solutions at Aon. "This acquisition will unite two investment industry leaders that provide objective advice and implemented OCIO solutions to institutional investors. Together, we will expand our capabilities and expertise to create sophisticated investment solutions that best serve our clients and further accelerate our growth." 

Townsend advises on $175.7 billion in global assets and manages $14.5 billion in assets.4 The firm's clients include many of the world's leading global investors in North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. 

"We were happy to have a large number of quality firms that wanted to partner with us, but it was the commonality of culture, approach and expertise that led us to Aon," said Terry Ahern, CEO of Townsend Group. "We look forward to having additional opportunities to continue our evolution that we began 30 years ago, while leveraging the platform, capabilities and people that, together, Aon and Townsend can offer to clients."

Ahern will continue to lead real estate and real asset investment services as part of Aon's Global Retirement & Investment organization. 

This acquisition is the latest example of Aon's ongoing commitment to allocate capital to high-value solutions that address emerging client needs, sharpen the firm's focus on delivering advice and solutions, and strengthen its global footprint.

About Aon
Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

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1As of 6/30/17, $108.6 B in global assets under management advised by AHIC ($80.7 B) and its global advisory affiliates.
2 As 6/30/16, assets under advisement represents $84.7 B in global discretionary assets under management and $4.117 T in global non-discretionary assets advised by AHIC and its global affiliates which includes retainer clients and clients in which AHIC and its global affiliates have performed project services for over the past three years.
3 Pension & Investments, 2017 Investment Outsourcing Survey, 68 firms participated in the survey. The rankings are based on the industry data reported by Pensions & Investments as of 03/31/2017. The rankings are based on the worldwide assets under management in investment outsourcing programs reported by each advisor who supplied data to Pensions & Investments. The survey does not report on any undisclosed facts about any of the advisors who participated in the survey that could call into question the validity of the underlying data. The survey does not state or imply that the rankings represent the quality of advice provided by any advisor who participated in the survey. The survey discloses the complete list of advisors who participated in the survey. The data may not represent any one client's experience because the data reflects the cumulative asset growth across the entire sampling of the clients of each advisor who participated in the survey. The data is not indicative of the future performance of advisors who participated in the survey. The survey was conducted by Pensions & Investments. No advisor paid a fee to participate in the survey.
4As of December 31, 2016, Townsend had assets under management of approximately $14.5 billion and provided advisory services to clients who had real estate/real asset allocations exceeding $175.7 billion.

Aon plc ( 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: (PRNewsFoto/Aon Corporation) (PRNewsfoto/Aon plc)



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