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Mercer, Callan Pull Plug on Merger

March 31, 2009
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Related Topics: Mergers and Acquisitions, Retirement/Pensions, Workforce Planning, Latest News
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Mercer and Callan Associates have halted plans to merge their investment consulting businesses, according to a Callan news release.

Mercer and Callan said that they are committed to continuing to grow their respective businesses as independent firms and that each respect one another as competitors,” the release said. “All Callan and Mercer client relationships will continue under their existing contractual agreements and consulting teams.”

“We are not able to discuss the details about this decision,” Ronald D. Peyton, Callan’s chairman and CEO, wrote in a letter to clients.

Some industry observers had speculated that the merger with Mercer was, at least in part, a way for senior Callan executives to monetize the value of the franchise they had built up during the decades.

Executives with other consulting firms expressed surprise that the deal had fallen apart at this stage, after months of intense discussions leading up to the February merger announcement.

One executive who declined to be named said he had heard the deal had been unpopular with some “very talented” professionals at Callan who had been open to moving to competing firm. Callan spokeswoman Nancy Malinowski declined to comment beyond saying that there have been no departures of key staff since the two firms originally revealed their plans to merge.

In his letter to clients, Peyton seemed to go out of his way to quash speculation that a similar deal could surface later. “We have no plans of pursuing this or any other merger or buyout now or in the future,” he wrote.

Peyton added, “There are no changes to Callan’s management structure, we anticipate no personnel changes, and all of our client agreements remain in place.”

He apologized for the “inconvenience” clients had experienced.

Mercer spokesman Charles Salmans declined to comment.

Filed by Douglas Appell and Timothy Inklebarger of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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