WSP agrees £625m deal to buy RPS

Mark Naysmith, chief executive officer, WSP UK & EMEA.

WSP has agreed a £625.9m deal to buy RPS, a well-recognised global professional services firm made up of around 5,000 consultants, designers, planners, engineers and technical specialists across approximately 100 different offices in 12 developed countries.

The news follows hot-on-the-heels of WSP’s combined £60m acquisition of Capita’s infrastructure and GL Hearn businesses earlier this month – and is in line with WSP’s ambitious Global Strategic Action Plan and long-term vision. 

The new deal to buy RSP will significantly increase WSP’s advisory and planning services, creating a leading consultancy in the UK by headcount, expand the number of renewable energy clients of the WSP Group, and builds a critical mass in the water sector, together with adding depth in expertise in urban development & planning to WSP’s Property & Buildings business.

WSP says the acquisition will reinforce its leadership position in the increasingly dynamic and rapidly evolving environmental consulting sector, where the clients and communities they serve require greater and more holistic capabilities than ever before.

Mark Naysmith, chief executive officer, WSP UK & EMEA, said: The combined capabilities of WSP and RPS in the UK is strategically compelling. To be able to offer a broader range of services, whilst adding to our ability to provide additional world class talent to our project delivery will benefit everyone and allow us to build a world-class ESG advisory business.”

Announcing the deal, RPS chair Ken Lever said: “The RPS directors believe that RPS has a clear strategy and is strongly positioned for the future, underpinned by favourable trends in its end markets and the benefits that are starting to flow from investments in RPS’ talent programme, brand, marketing strategy and technology initiatives.

“However, this is a compelling offer from WSP which fully values the business and its future prospects. It represents a highly attractive premium to recent trading levels and provides certain value in cash today for RPS shareholders.

“The RPS directors also believe that the acquisition will provide career opportunities for our employees within the enlarged WSP Group as well as access to a comprehensive and expanded service offering for our clients.”

It is expected that the acquisition will be completed by end of the fourth quarter of 2022.

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