Aussie firms advise on Texas company’s acquisition of Aquenta

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Clarendon Lawyers, Fried Frank and Baker McKenzie have advised on the acquisition of Australian firm Aquenta Consulting by Texas-headquartered firm Jacobs Engineering Group for an undisclosed sum.

Clarendon Lawyers and Fried Frank advised Jacobs Engineering, formerly known as Currie & Brown. Meanwhile, Baker McKenzie advised Amec Foster Wheeler, which has owned the Australian integrated project services firm since 2010. The Clarendons team was led by managing director Tony Symons, who was assisted by senior associates Billy Dwyer and Sarah Noble.

For more than 60 years, Aquenta has been involved in multi-billion dollar projects in multiple market segments which have been carried out across Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and Europe. The company specialises in cost management, project planning and controls, project and risk management, contract, commercial and dispute services, and asset and facilities management. The 220-person Aquenta business will be integrated into Jacobs’ larger Asia Pacific buildings and infrastructure business.

According to Jacobs, the joint business is particularly relevant to the “buoyant” Australian transport infrastructure market. The firm currently works with clients such as Transport for New South Wales and Public Transport Victoria. The acquisition will also provide immediate growth opportunities in New Zealand and the Middle East, Jacobs said.

Some top firms are bullish on Australia markets this year. Recently, Herbert Smith Freehills told Australasian Lawyer that it sees “strong” activity in the mergers and acquisitions space in 2017. Particularly, the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector is poised to significantly grow, said Tony Joyner, lead partner of HSF’s global TMT group.

Meanwhile, Baker McKenzie’s head of capital markets recently told Australasian Lawyer that Australia’s economic outlook remains “positive” despite a slight slowdown at the end of 2016 due to political uncertainty in several markets.

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