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Atkins in takeover talks after Canadian giant's approach

Atkins Woodcote Grove
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Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin has approached consultancy giant Atkins, which employees more than 100 architects, with an acquisition offer

Atkins told the City the two companies were in talks after SNC-Lavalin offered Atkins 2,080p for every share of the company. SNC-Lavalin’s offer values the multinational engineering giant at around £2.1bn. 

The company, ranked 10th in last year’s AJ100 league table, said it had indicated to SNC-Lavalin that it would be prepared to recommend the offer to stakeholders subject to reaching agreement on the other terms and conditions of the offer.

Shares in Atkins soared more than 26 per cent yesterday afternoon (3 April) as news of the prospective deal broke. 

The Atkins statement said: ’Atkins and SNC-Lavalin are in discussions about the other terms and conditions of the possible offer, which is conditional on, among other things, diligence and financing.’

SNC-Lavalin is required to announce any firm intention to make an offer for Atkins by 5pm on 1 May.

The Canadian firm, headquartered in Qubec, has offices in more than 50 countries and reported £10billin revenue in 2015.

According to a report in The Times, CH2M approached Atkins over the possibility of a merger at the end of last year.

It was unclear how far talks developed between the two firms.

Also at the end of last year, Atkins confirmed it had sold its PFI investment in the scheme to widen the M25.

The consultant sold its 10 per cent investment to Edge Orbital Holdings 2, a consortium advised by Macquarie Capital, for £66.3m.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • £66.3m for its share in a PFI scheme to widen the M25 - I wonder if the directors of WS Atkins are aware of the way in for the last 80 years (every 8 years on average, from a report on the effects of the Great West Road in London in 1925) surveys have consistently found that more road building begets more and more traffic, far above background trends over the longer term.
    And that new road building induces new traffic at a faster rate, including on surrounding and connecting roads, with little evidence of the economic benefit to local communities often used to justify their construction.
    And that new roads cause very significant environmental harm.

    The findings of these surveys and reports down the years have been repeatedly forgotten, and 20 years ago a visiting Australian retail development specialist from one of the biggest oil companies told me that, having driven around the M25, the notion of continuing to widen it was 'completely bonkers'.
    And he was chasing new fuel marketing opportunities.

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