Atkins, WSP compete for Parsons Brinckerhoff
Pair vying with private equity buyers for Balfour Beatty-owned firm
Building consultancy firms Atkins and WSP are reported to be among the front runners to buy out the Parsons Brinckerhoff engineering arm from contractor Balfour Beatty, according to reports.
The Sunday Telegraph stated that the two firms are competing with a pair of private equity buyers for Parsons Brinckerhoff, which was responsible for a breakdown in merger talks between Balfour Beatty and Carillion late last month.
Balfour Beatty bought Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2009 but announced in May this year that it had decided to sell the business.
It stated that although the firm had performed well and grown under its ownership, the deal had not "delivered material competitive advantage it had expected from being able to service design & build contracts".
Balfour Beatty and Carillion then began talks about a $5.9bn merger on 24 July, which the pair initially said would not impact on the sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff.
However, Balfour Beatty announced on 31 July that it had ended talks once Carillion insisted that Parsons Brinckerhoff be retained as part of the deal.
The firm said the change in terms by Carillion was unacceptable, adding that the sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff was "currently well underway".
Carillion replied by stating that it felt it was "essential to retain the stability and dependability of Parsons Brinckerhoff's earnings" if it were to proceed with any merger.
Parsons Brinckerhoff has recently won project management deals for part of the Doha Metro as well as a project management joint venture deal with Fluor to manage the Saudi Landbridge project.