American consultant increases its bid by £62m in attempt to win control of UK firm

American consulting giant URS has upped its bid for UK firm Scott Wilson to £223m, trumping a £189m bid yesterday from rival CH2M Hill by 16%.

CH2M Hill had already beaten an offer of £161m from URS yesterday.

This latest counter bid ups the stakes in an increasingly fierce battle for control of Scott Wilson.

On the latest offer from URS, Geoff French, chairman of Scott Wilson, said: “The board is reaffirming its recommendation of URS’s increased offer because it believes that it represents a compelling proposition for Scott Wilson’s shareholders, customers and employees.

Martin Koffel, chairman and chief executive of URS, said: “We are pleased to have reached agreement with the Scott Wilson board on an increased offer for the company. We continue to believe that the combination of URS and Scott Wilson will create a global business with the financial resources to invest in further growth for the benefit of the enlarged group’s clients and employees.”

The City will now wait to see if CH2M Hill increases its £189m offer.

This week, Jacqueline Rast, director of mergers & acquisitions with CH2M Hill, who is in London overseeing its bid, insisted it was in a strong position to clinch the deal.

She said: “We’ve been a strong partner [on projects with Scott Wilson] and right now we have put a superior offer on the table. We are hopeful we’ll get a board recommendation and I would say this deal benefits employees.”