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SMC eyes up 'at least two' Scottish takeovers 'by Christmas'

The owner of the ever-acquisitive SMC Group has revealed major plans for a massive expansion into Scotland's architectural market north of the border.

Stewart McColl told the AJ on Friday that his floated company was 'extremely likely' to buy 'more than one Scottish practice before Christmas'.

McColl, who bought Will Alsop's practice at the beginning of the year, has let it be known that he is keen to have all geographical markets and sectors in the UK covered by firms he owns.

Currently he has no business interests north of the border.

The move will trigger widespread speculation in the Scottish architectural scene about which firms might be on McColl's hit-list.

Previous targets have always been practices, of varying sizes and architectural styles.

One seasoned observer of the Edinburgh scene told the AJ: 'No-one's heard anything about this, but its not much of a surprise. We're all very interested about who might be in negotiations with Stuart'.

The rise of the SMC group has been meteoric. In the last two years it has bought Alsop's firm, Charter Architects, DTR:UK, Corstorphine & Wright Hills Erwin, Philip Lees and Associates, Ian Penrose Architects and Covell Matthews Architects.

If both acquisitions go through, SMC chiefs hope that the company might displace BDP at the top of next year's AJ100 list.

by Ed Dorrell

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