WSP Global to Acquire Parsons Brinckerhoff

Canadian engineering firm WSP Global Inc. (TSX:WSP) announced on Sept. 3 that it has agreed in principle to acquire New York City-based Parsons Brinckhoff for more than $1.3 billion from Balfour Beatty.

The terms of the Acquisition have been approved by the boards of directors of both WSP — formerly known as Genivar — and U.K.-based Balfour Beatty plc. The Acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Headquartered in New York City, Parsons Brinckerhoff is a global professional services firm with a network of approximately 170 offices and nearly 13,500 employees on five continents. The firm is a premier infrastructure consultancy providing services in transportation, power, energy, community development, water, mining and environment segments.

“This tremendously exciting transaction significantly expands opportunities for our employees and services to our clients. The compatibility of our respective cultures, each focusing on technical excellence and client service, is strengthened by the complementary technical skills we each offer,” said Parsons Brinckerhoff president and CEO George J. Pierson. “I have full confidence that by teaming with WSP, our ability to enrich our communities through projects large and small is greatly enhanced, all to the benefit of our employees, clients, and stakeholders.”

The acquisition will significantly strengthen WSP’s presence in the United States, where Parsons Brinckerhoff has a solid, stable business which employs approximately 5,000 employees while expanding WSP’s presence in the United Kingdom and providing the firm with a stronger presence in key growth regions such as Asia and Australia, according to the press release.

The release noted other expected benefits of the Parsons Brinckerhoff acquisition, incliuding: enabling WSP to become one of the largest global pure-play professional services firms in its industry, with approximately 31,000 employees across the world; expands WSP’s position in its industry, both in terms of geographic footprint and segments served, while extending WSP’s client base and the development of WSP’s people, expertise and capabilities; and combines WSP’s expertise in the buildings segment with Parsons Brinckerhoff’s expertise in the transportation segment.
“We are pleased to be joining forces with a firm of Parsons Brinckerhoff’s long-standing reputation and know-how as we expect this transaction to create an industry leader, with the ability to deliver more expertise and services to our client base across the world,” said WSP president and CEO Pierre Shoiry. “We expect to successfully reach the strategic objectives we had set for 2015, by creating one of the largest global pure-play professional services firms in our industry around our four pillars, namely our employees, our clients, our operational excellence and our expertise. We also anticipate that the employees of both firms will benefit from the transaction, as we integrate our talents and make the most of our greater scale to continue to develop our people, improve their career opportunities and advance their ability to work globally.
“On the integration front, building on our past success of combining GENIVAR and WSP, we anticipate a harmonious process which will be led by executives from both firms, with an objective of bringing together the best of both organizations,” he added.

Upon finalizing of the purchase, Pierson will become an executive member of the board of directors of WSP, ensuring his active role in the organization as well as continuity and seamless integration at the highest level.
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