A bidding war has begun for Scott Wilson after CH2M Hill, the US based consultancy, topped an earlier offer by URS of £161m, with its own offer of £189m.
CH2M Hill has also shown its commitment to scuppering the URS offer after buying almost 13 per cent of Scott Wilson’s listed shares yesterday.
The CH2M Hill offer is 245p per share, the same it paid yesterday for the initial stake, and the minimum bid it must make under stock exchange rules.
The rival offer from URS was 210p per share.
Scott Wilson shares were trading at just under £2.60 this morning, suggesting the market believes an even higher offer will now be made.
Commenting on the offer, CH2M Hill chairman Lee McIntire said: “The offer we have announced today is superior to the offer announced this morning for Scott Wilson both in terms of value and the opportunities it will deliver to Scott Wilson, its business, customers and employees.”
He added: “We know Scott Wilson and respect the very capable people it has around the world. We believe that CH2M HILL’s model of employee ownership and our shared passion for customer service mean that our offer not only provides shareholders with compelling value but will also provide the business and its employees with the best environment in which to fulfil their full potential.”
The Scott Wilson board is expected to meet on 30 June to discuss the offers, but URS directors have indicated they may increase their offer, as, under the terms of the deal it agreed, it is able to match any rival offer.