WSP buys UK-based environmental consultancy RPS Group for $975 million

11 August 2022 2 min. read
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WSP, a Montreal-headquartered design and engineering consulting firm, has agreed to acquire RPS Group, an Abingdon, UK-headquartered environmental consulting firm, for $975 million.

Founded in 1970 as Rural Planning Services, RPS has grown to more than 5,000 people across 12 countries. Two-thirds of its revenue is from environmental work and water services, and the majority of its revenue in 2021 was generated by its operations in the UK, Australia, and US.

RPS has approximately $875 in annual revenue and has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1987.

WSP will acquire RPS for £2.06 per share (£625 million or $975 million). The consultancy said it will sell $400 million worth of equity and raise a concurrent $400 million of private placement equity financing.

The transaction, which is expected to close by Q4 2022, will expand WSP’s global headcount to over 70,000 and its revenues to over $10 billion on a pro forma basis. The RPS acquisition will grow the firm’s environmental business to approximately 23,000 people.

WSP buys UK-based environmental consultancy RPS Group

The deal is part of WSP’s continuing expansion of its environmental and consulting services. The firm in June agreed to acquire the environment and infrastructure (E&I) business of John Wood Group, an Aberdeen, UK-headquartered engineering consultancy. The $2.3-billion deal added approximately 6,000 people across 10 countries.

Last year, WSP acquired environmental consultancy Golder in a $1.4-billion transaction that added 7,000 employees in 30 countries.

“RPS is a perfect fit as it adds depth to our current platform and is highly complementary, in terms of geographies and sectors, to our recently announced agreement to acquire the Environmental and Infrastructure (E&I) business (the “Wood E&I Business”) of the John Wood Group plc,” said Alexandre L’Heureux, president and CEO of WSP. “We are proud that we are building a strong ESG leader with significant capabilities in water and energy and contributing significantly towards the transition to a greener and low-carbon world.”

HSBC is acting as financial advisor to WSP on the acquisition, while legal advice in being provided by Linklaters LLP in the UK and Stikeman Elliott LLP in Canada.