Davis Langdon & Seah says it doesn’t need Aecom - but sources claim it had been eyeing a deal

Davis Langdon & Seah, the Asian arm of Davis Langdon, has said it rejected a deal with Aecom because it was financially strong enough to remain independent, but sources claim it was initially keen on a deal.

The partnership, which has 33 offices and employs 3,000 people in 13 countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines and China, also feared that being rebranded could damage its reputation.

Lai Pak Hung, a director of the quantity surveyor, said: “The most important thing is we think we are strong enough to sustain ourselves - the Asian market is strong enough.”

He added that Seah was also concerned about losing the respected DL brand to a group that was “not that known in Asia”.

The remainder of the group was bought by Aecom for £204m two weeks ago in a deal that will mean that the 91-year-old consultant is swallowed by the £3.8bn-turnover Californian giant. Several sources have suggested the main DL business was forced into a deal with Aecom after running up high debt, a claim the consultant denies.

The mystery surrounding the deal deepened this week after two sources familiar with the situation said Seah had pulled out of doing a deal with Aecom in recent weeks after agreeing to it.

The reasons behind the change are thought to include how much the 15 partners would receive. “It was a big issue,” said one source.

They added: “Seah was initially keener than the other parts of the business. But then it fell through at the last minute.”

Another source said Seah was “ready for a deal” with Aecom before backtracking.

Meanwhile a senior source at DL denied reports that the Aecom deal had resulted in big payouts for partners. He said: “No partner in Europe and the Middle East received more than a million pounds to my knowledge.”

Aecom and DL declined to comment on the talks held with Davis Langdon & Seah.