WSP Global Progresses in Discussions to Buy Aecom

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(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s WSP Global Inc. is moving ahead with talks to acquire rival engineering services firm Aecom, people familiar with the matter said.

A deal could be announced as soon as next week, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The market volatility has added uncertainty to the negotiations, and discussions could drag on further or fall apart, according to the people.

Shares of Aecom rose 7.7% to $51.33 at 10:14 a.m. in New York trading Wednesday, giving the company a market capitalization of about $8.1 billion. WSP Global shares fell less than 1% to C$88.48 in Toronto, valuing it at about C$9.4 billion ($7 billion).

Bloomberg News first reported in January that WSP had approached Aecom about a potential deal. Representatives for Los Angeles-based Aecom and Montreal-based WSP didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aecom, which was targeted by activist investor Starboard Value last year, agreed in October to sell its management services division to a group of private equity firms for $2.4 billion. The company’s services include consulting, planning, architecture, engineering and construction management.

WSP has been expanding aggressively through deals. In December it closed an acquisition of U.S. consulting firm Ecology & Environment Inc., a month after announcing the purchase of Australia’s Elton Consulting Group Pty.

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