GERMANY - Mercer Germany's Frankfurt-based operation has signed an agreement to take over German pension consultant Höfer Vorsorge-Management on January 1.

IPE reported in November both firms had approached the German federal cartel office to test whether any factors could bar a possible deal, though a Mercer spokeswoman stressed at the time no deal had been made yet. (See earlier IPE story: Mercer plans catch up with Hofer merger, updated)

Mercer said it has acquired all shares in the Höfer business from its owners, Reinhold and Hugues Höfer.

"The acquisition gives Mercer the top market position in Germany extending its 300-strong employee base to more than 500, and expanding its reach to five additional offices in Berlin, Karlsruhe, Leipzig, Mülheim and Wiesbaden," read a statement today.

According to Michele Burns, Mercer's global chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), "Germany is key to Mercer's global growth, not only as Europe's largest economy, but also as an important base for multinational companies".

The merger with Höfer has now closed the gap between Mercer and rival firm Watson Wyatt, which completed its acquisition of Heissmann, another of Germany's leading pensions actuarial and pensions consultancies, in July.

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