Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Acquisition of architectural firm likely good news for Michigan

More jobs could be coming to Michigan thanks to a planned acquisition of a business that specializes in architecture, planning and engineering for schools and universities. The company, SHW Group LLC, is based in Texas, but has an office in Berkley.

The acquiring company, Stantec Inc. is a design firm based in Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada. It also has a presence in Michigan, with offices in Ann Arbor, Farmington Hills and Okemos. While the company says it may consolidate the Berkley and Farmington Hills offices "if it makes sense down the line," it still says it expects to nearly double the number of employees in the Berkley office from its current 110.

SHW's chief executive officer, who will stay on to run Stantec's global education business, says the acquisition was "born from both of our strategic plans." She noted that Stantec, which is a global company with 200 locations, has "a core purpose of designing with community in mind, and one of the key elements to any successful community is education."

The president of Stantec echoed the commitment to "growing our education sector in an expanding U.S. market." He also noted that the acquisition will increase the company's presence in Michigan.

SHW, in addition to working with K-12 educators throughout Michigan, has worked for Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. The company also boasts other major universities around the country as its clients. These include Villanova University as well as universities in Texas and Virginia.

The purchase price and other terms of the deal have not yet been reported. It is expected to close before the end of May.

Even friendly business acquisitions have their legal and regulatory challenges -- particularly when one of them is not based in the U.S. It's essential for each company to have an experienced legal team that can help ensure their client's best interests and work to help the transaction go off as smoothly as possible so that the new partnership can focus on its business goals.

Source: Crain’s Detroit Business, "Design firm Stantec buys SHW Group, expands Michigan footprint" Kirk Pinho, May. 13, 2014

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