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Second URS buy creates UK stronghold

CONSULTANT DAMES & Moore looks set to be taken over by US consulting giant URS. Last month's proposed buyout for £368M will further bolster URS' presence in the UK, with the addition of an extra 250 UK-based staff.

The move comes on the back of URS' recent acquisition of Thorburn Colquhoun in February. Final details of the takeover have still to be worked out and will depend on whether shareholders in the two New York Stock Exchange- listed businesses accept the plan.

D&M's UK operation is part of a giant global firm with turnover of £750M and 7,800 staff spread across 30 countries. URS is paying £184M for the group plus another £184M to write off debts. The deal adds to URS' current £505.6M turnover and 7,000 staff.

Amalgamating the two companies in the UK would create a top 30 UK consultant by fees rendered. Alternatively, Thorburn Colquhoun could be absorbed into D&M's more substantial European business.

Thorburn Colquhoun's civil and structural business should complement D&M's UK environmental engineering and construction management arm.

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