Only handful of people knew about deal which was finally signed last week

Turner & Townsend began discussions about buying London cost consultant Alinea just weeks after its own deal with CBRE broke in summer 2021.

Building understands Turner & Townsend (T&T) has paid between £25m and £35m for the 110-strong firm, bringing to an end nearly 10 years of independence after it was set up in May 2013 following the takeover of Davis Langdon by Aecom.

T&T’s UK managing director Patricia Moore declined to comment on the amount it paid for a business that is predicted to have a turnover of £20m in its latest financial year, which finishes at the end of April, and earnings of around £5m.


Alinea was set up in 2013 by six former partners of Davis Langdon and EC Harris

But she said initial discussions between the pair first kicked off in autumn 2021 – just weeks after US real estate giant CBRE announced it was paying £960m for a 60% stake in T&T.

The negotiations, which were led for Alinea by co-founder Iain Parker and for T&T by Moore, its chairman and chief executive Vince Clancy and the UK boss of its cost management arm, Martin Sudweeks, began to accelerate last spring and summer before the deal was inked at the end of last month.

Moore said having the backing of CBRE had given T&T the “confidence” to buy Alinea, which it had targeted in order to break into the investor developer market in the Square Mile.

>>See also: Why Alinea turned its back on independence and signed up with T&T

“We have a really strong strategic investor behind us that wants us to go faster, wants to back us,” she said. “We’ve never really been able to penetrate the City of London and we want to get into the City of London and that is what Alinea is going to help us to do.” 

Under the deal, Parker becomes the head of an enlarged London cost management business called Turner & Townsend Alinea and which is now around 350 strong with a turnover upwards of £50m. Speaking about the deal, he added: “We propel our business a decade overnight in terms of what we’re trying to do.”

Alinea said its seven equity partners were staying with the business and had now become equity partners in T&T, bringing the total number there to more than 140.

Parker added an initial amount paid out by T&T will be shared between all of the firm’s staff, all of whom will keep their jobs.

Conversations about who gets what started this week and the criteria being discussed for payouts includes seniority, longevity and “contribution to the business”. Parker added there was no golden handcuffs deal, requiring him and his colleagues to stay at T&T for a set period of time while the seven equity partners are understood to have kept a “significant” sum in T&T.

It is expected the firm will swap its current office at Cannon Street for T&T’s office at nearby One New Change next summer from where nearly 2,000 people are based.