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WS Atkins, WSP, private equity firms vie for Balfour business: Reuters

(Reuters) – British engineering firm WS Atkins and Canada’s WSP Global are vying for control of Balfour Beatty‘s U.S. engineering and design business Parsons Brinckerhoff, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Balfour broke off merger talks with Carillion after Carillion insisted Balfour cancel the planned sale of its U.S. unit and keep it within the merged company.

WS Atkins and WSP Global are also understood to be competing with two unnamed private equity firms for the business, the paper said, citing unnamed sources.

The paper added that the bidding process, being run by Goldman Sachs, is in the second round and that sources suggest one of the two trade buyers was more likely to win.

WS Atkins declined to comment, and WSP was not immediately available.

A spokesman for Balfour said “the process (the disposal of Parsons Brinckerhoff) is underway and proceeding in line with the board’s expectations”. The spokesman, Patrick Kerr, declined to comment further.

Based in Montréal, WSP is backed by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). In April, the Caisse and CPPIB helped fund the professional services company’s $366 million purchase of Focus Corp, a Calgary-based provider of engineering and geomatics services to the oil and gas industry.

Focus was sold to WSP by U.S. private equity firm KRG Capital Partners.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; editing by Keiron Henderson)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of peHUB Canada)

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