Former BAA capital projects director Andrew Wolstenholme will manage the take-over of consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff by contracting giant Balfour Beatty.
In a statment to the city yesterday, Balfour Beatty’s chief executive Ian Tyler said Wolstenholme will manage the takeover and drive business opportunities that exist between the two companies, although the powerful Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) brand would remain, and it will continue to operate independently.
Tyler also said that litigation from the ill-fated Boston Big Dig was: “fully” settled and Balfour Beatty would not be taking on any significant liabilities in the takeover.
Research said the fallout from the Big Dig had not damaged PB’s reputation in the marketplace.
Chief operating officer and president of PB international, Stuart Glenn gave the company’s reasons for the sale - growth.
“PB had a look at our business in terms of our strategic direction a couple of years ago. We found that [US] competitors in transportation and infrastructure - the CH2s, AECOMs and URS of this world, have outstripped us in the last few years in size and growth.
“To remain competitive in the professional field, we need size. Their growth was through acquisition and organic growth. But as an employee owned organisation we could not meet that strategic direction. We needed to grow and diversify. We had discussions with Balfour Beatty over past couple of years and exclusively over last 6 months,” to reach the deal, he said.
The deal is not yet complete, and 75% of some 4,500 PB shareholders must approve the deal by 7 October. The rights issue will raise the funds and the money distributed. Each PB shareholder will receive an average of $150,000.
Tyler said the rights issue rather than debt was favoured to make the purchase to satisfy the US markets: “This is a transforming acquisition and will take a lot of managing. We have the capital to be able to invest going forward,” he said.
The deal is expected to complete around the end of October.