Canadian Genivar in £278m deal to take London-listed WSP private

Canadian consultancy Genivar Inc (TSE:GNV) has sealed a GBP278m (USD429.3m/EUR343.9m) deal to buy and delist UK engineering and management advisory services provider WSP Group Plc (LON:WSH), the parties announced.

The combination of the two consultancies will provide them with a solid global platform for growth, said WSP chairman Ian Barlow. In turn, the CEO of Genivar, Pierre Shoiry, believes that the transaction will create one of the world’s leading professional services companies.

Genivar will acquire the British company via a recommended cash bid of GBP4.35 apiece, a price that represents a premium of 67.3% to the latter’s closing stock price on 6 June. The transaction has to be approved by the stockholders of WSP.

The buyer has already received irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the deal from shareholders which together control nearly 23.8m WSP shares, or about 37.1% of its issued ordinary share capital.

Once the tie-up is completed, WSP’s current head Christopher Cole will become executive chairman of the board of the enlarged entity, while Shoiry will retain his CEO position.

Rothschild is advising the directors of WSP in this transaction. The British company has more than 9,000 workers and some 200 offices in over 30 countries. On the other hand, its purchaser has a headcount of over 5,500 in more than 100 cities in Canada and abroad.