GLOBAL - Watson Wyatt & Co. Holdings has changed its name to Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc. to reflect the recent acquisition of its European affiliate.

The move was effective as of January 1, the Washington-based consulting firm said. Its stock will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under its existing symbol, WW.

"In recognition of our acquisition of our European alliance partner, Watson Wyatt LLP, in July 2005, we are changing our holding company's name to match the name under which our alliance has pursued global business opportunities since 1995: Watson Wyatt Worldwide,” said president and chief executive John Haley.

“We believe this better reflects our global capabilities and identity in the marketplace."

In November Watson Wyatt reported lower quarterly earnings – hit in part by a loss related to its acquisition of Watson Wyatt LLP.

Fiscal year 2006 first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations came in at $0.36 per diluted share – down from $0.42 in the prior year period and $0.37 in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The numbers included a $3.6m (€3m) “non-operating charge” due to a loss on a foreign currency forward contract that related to the LLP acquisition.