Deal gives practice presence in 46 countries and follows rival DL&E’s merger with specification specialist.
Top six cost consultant Currie & Brown has merged with rival Widnell to form a practice that will have a presence in twice as many countries as its nearest competitor.

The combined group will have 1500 staff in 46 offices around the world, and a combined turnover of about £60m. The deal follows news this week that Davis Langdon & Everest is to merge with specification-writer and QS Schumann-Smith. Under the deal, Stevenage-based Schumann-Smith, which has 20 staff and a turnover of £1m, will keep its name and office.

Currie & Brown chief executive Doug Leedham said the Widnell deal had been struck after 12 months of negotiations, following an initial approach by Widnell last June.

Leedham said Currie & Brown had decided to pursue the move because of Widnell’s international presence – it is only the 39th largest QS, but 80% of its 700 staff are based outside the UK, and it has a presence in 31 countries.

Leedham said: “As far as we are concerned, that will allow us to secure more global clients.” Existing clients include SmithKline Beecham, Citibank, BP and Shell.

While Currie & Brown has expanded into wider consultancy areas and has traditionally worked in industrial sectors, Widnell is focused on traditional building work.

Widnell will be renamed Currie & Brown Widnell and sit within the Currie & Brown group in the UK. Over the coming year, Widnell’s international offices will be subsumed into Currie & Brown’s international division. Terry Guy, currently managing director of Widnell, will retain his role in the new practice.

Leedham said the move would not affect Currie & Brown’s joint venture with Ernst & Young, with whom it carries out management consultancy-type work.

The merger could trigger a spate of corporate activity between cost consultants vying for work with major clients across the world. “There’s been speculation about consolidation for years and this is it,” said Leedham.

Davis Langdon & Everest’s new partner Schumann-Smith is expected to grow by 25% a year. Its clients include Foster and Partners and Richard Rogers Partnership.