Sweett shareholders were all set to meet on Wednesday morning (29th June 2016) to ratify an agreed takeover by Canadian firm WSP. However, this meeting has now been adjourned after a late intervention by Lebanese-owned Currie & Brown with a better offer.
On Friday the board of Sweett withdrew its support for the WSP acquisition after Currie & Brown, which these days is part of the Dar Group, made a better offer.
Sweett’s board originally approved WSP’s £24m offer in May.
Currie & Brown, which last year bought Sweett’s Asia business for £8m, has offered £29m for the remaining Sweett business. This was enough to win over Sweett’s directors and major shareholders.
Currie & Brown said that it could generate cost-savings, principally through the intended delisting of Sweett and the rationalisation of property, back office and shared services. On completion of the acquisition, Sweett directors will step down from the board of Sweett.
Sweett chairman John Dodds said: "The Sweett directors have considered the merits of the WSP proposal and the offer and are now recommending the offer of 42 pence in cash per Sweett share as it provides most value for Sweett shareholders. In addition, in light of the unwillingness of the Sweett Group's bank to extend facilities to the Sweett Group beyond 8th July 2016, the Sweett directors have also taken into account Currie & Brown's provision of the liquidity facility.”
Currie & Brown chairman David Broomer said: "This transaction will bring together two well-respected businesses to create a leading construction advisory business and deliver a key element of Currie & Brown's strategy – to provide a quality offering to global and local clients alike. The acquisition of Sweett will create a business of substantial scale in the UK, which will provide a compelling offer to clients and significant opportunities for all our people to develop."
Euan McEwan, chief executive of Currie & Brown, added: "Having recently met the Sweett senior management team, I have been impressed by the quality and calibre of the people and the business. I look forward to welcoming them to Currie & Brown."
WSP said that it was considering its options and would issue a further announcement in due course.