GENIVAR of Montreal announced on June 7 that it intends to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of WSP Group PLC, based in London, U.K.
WSP is a global multi-disciplinary professional services consulting firm specializing in building, transportation, infrastructure, management, industrial, energy and environmental consulting. The company has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1990 and employs more than 9,000 people in 200 offices in over 30 countries. For the year ended December 31, 2011, WSP had revenues of approximately $1.1 billion.
Genivar is one of Canada’s largest consulting firms and is one of very few firms that are publicly traded. Based in Montreal, it has been expanding rapidly for the past few years, largely as a result of acquiring firms across Canada, and elsewhere. It has approximately 5,500 employees in 100 cities in Canada and abroad.
Following the transaction, which is expected to close on July 31, the two companies have announced that they “intend to combine their reputation, respective expertise and geographic reach to create a world-class professional services firm with approximately 14,500 employees in over 30 countries, with a strong presence in Canada, Northern Europe (including mainly Sweden and Norway), the U.K. and the United States.”
The announcement continued: “With complementary geographic footprints, end-market exposures and service offerings, and very limited client overlap, the business fit between GENIVAR and WSP is expected to provide revenue diversification as well as enhanced capabilities to better serve the combined client base on a global basis.”
Christopher Cole, the current chief executive of WSP, will become executive chairman of the board of directors of the corporation, while the current chairman of the board, Richard Bélanger, will become the lead independent director. Pierre Shoiry of Genivar will continue as the president and chief executive officer.
Each holder of issued and outstanding shares of WSP will be entitled to receive £4.35 per share, representing a premium of approximately 67% to the closing price on June 6, 2012. The equity value of the transaction amounts to approximately $442 million.
Commenting on the transaction, Christopher Cole said, “WSP is a successful global multi-disciplinary professional services consultancy with stated strategic ambitions to diversify and grow. Whilst reviewing carefully our options to best achieve this aim, an exceptional opportunity has arisen for WSP to merge with GENIVAR, a similarly ambitious entrepreneurial yet complementary Canadian firm.”
The scheme must be approved by a majority of WSP Shareholders.
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