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Jacobs to buy SKM for £765M

United States consulting giant Jacobs has signed an agreement to take over Australian consultant SKM in a deal worth £765M.

SKM said the deal, described as a merger, represents the best way for it to achieve the long term vision it set out in 2009. This was to broaden of its business across geographies, sectors and skills to improve its offering to its clients and provide greater opportunities for its staff.

The deal is subject to shareholder approval.

Jacobs is around 10 times bigger than SKM, employing 65,000 staff working in over 25 countries around the world from 200 offices. SKM employs 6,500 people working from 40 offices worldwide.

SKM chief executive Santo Rizzuto described the merger as “an exciting opportunity”.

“It uniquely positions us amongst our global peers and opens the way for us to achieve even greater things in the future,” he said. “It adds scale, diversification and growth opportunities to our business.”

“We believe that this will significantly strengthen our market position and that this is an outstanding proposition for our clients and our people.”

Jacobs president and chief executive Craig Martin said that the combination was “a unique fit” that “strongly delivers” on the company’s strategic growth ambitions.

SKM has significant operations in Australia, Asia, South America, and the UK and serves clients in multiple industries and is a major player in the mining sector.

“SKM’s culture, values, and operating philosophy are very compatible with ours, making our companies an excellent fit for one another,” he said. “Our capabilities and geographies have little overlap, enabling us together to continue to expand our client relationships and provide significant opportunities for our employees. We are enthusiastic about the potential.”

More international consultancy takeover news

New-Zealand-headquartered Opus has also announced that it is buying Canadian advisory firm Stewart Weir.

Opus, which has 12 offices across the UK, will pay CAD$50M (£31M) upfront for the firm plus up to £25M in performance-based payments.

The acquisition will add 550 staff and six offices to Opus’ Canadian operation. The company will have a global headcount in excess of 3,000.

Opus chief executive David Prentice said: “Our strategic plan calls for both diversification in existing markets and expansion into new markets.

“This acquisition fulfils both those objectives. Oil and gas is a vital global industry, and Canada is well positioned for growth.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Presumably the SKM purchase of Enviros a few years back in UK hasn't added significantly to the total value of the international side!? And as Consultancies don't normally have a substantial asset base/cost, this value equates to >£100,000 per Employee. Quite mind-blowing, seeing as the human resource is easily 'mobile'. Atkins has a Stock Market capitalisation of £1200m and i'm inclined to think it has more than 12,000 employees worldwide. Must be the markets that SKM work in that are the carrot for Jacobs paying that much??

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