I have just got off the phone to Davis Langdon senior partner Rob Smith and he was at pains to point out that this afternoon’s takeover by Aecom was in no way a “distressed sale”.
The £204m price tag should certainly end the rumours that the company would be sold for a pound.
For months reports about the consultant’s poor financial health circulated around every corner of the market – and not just from the usual suspects.
Smith says: “We suspect one or two sources from outside the organisation were putting stories into the market. It’s not something we indulge in and we were not happy about it.”
Whatever the truth about the threat of breached banking covenants and partners being asked to inject capital, it doesn’t matter now.
Aecom first approach DL in September 2009 so the deal has taken a year to complete. According to Smith, the talks were more like a high-brow version of a “Building Buys A Pint For…” article than number-crunching. He says: “This was about myriad people at both companies having a conversation about what the property and construction industry will look like in the future.”
He knows his stuff, it must have been a fascinating chinwag.
For more on Smith’s thoughts, including why he believes the URS deal to buy Scott Wilson was the complete opposite of what Aecom and DL have done, see next week’s mag.