AECOM acquires Ellerbe Becket, plans no job cuts

AECOMAECOM Technology Corp., a Los Angeles-based design firm known for its work on the largest LEED certified building in China and other international projects, has acquired Minneapolis-based Ellerbe Becket.

The two companies announced the deal Monday. Terms were not disclosed.

Ellerbe Becket, which has 450 employees in seven offices in the United States and the Middle East, has been in business for 100 years. The company specializes in health care, corporate, government, higher education, and professional sports designs.

It joins a company that describes itself as a “global provider of technical and management support services in a broad range of markets,” including transportation, facilities, environment and energy.

For Ellerbe Becket, it’s an opportunity to better serve clients by being part of a large, global company that — like Ellerbe — is strong financially and professionally, according to Jon Buggy, managing principal of Ellerbe Becket’s Minneapolis office.

“We have been working on this for a couple of years,” Buggy said. “There is really a strong fit with AECOM.”

Advertisement Ellerbe’s management will stay in place and no job cuts are planned, he said.

“In fact, we expect we are going to grow,” Buggy said. “Definitely no cutbacks planned. We have been doing very, very well during this recession. This was done from a position of strength. … We are going to keep serving our clients, but now we are part of this bigger family.”

Adapting to the market

Ellerbe Becket CEO Rick Lincicome said in a press release that the deal “unites two market leaders” and “brings even greater resources” to clients.

“We explored this move to better serve the demands of our clients and to adapt to the evolving marketplace,” Lincicome added. “Ellerbe Becket is now an important part of an organization that has a global architectural presence and is one of the world’s top design firms.”

AECOM (NYSE: ACM) had $6.1 billion in revenue during the 12-month period that ended June 30. In its July 2009 rating of “Top 500 Design Firms,” Engineering New Record rated AECOM first in four specific categories and second overall.

The Fortune 500 company, which has 44,000 employees worldwide, operates studios on four continents and has served clients in more than 100 countries

Noteworthy AECOM projects include a renovation of the Lafayette and Eisenhower Executive Office Buildings in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles Police Department Administration Building, as well as the Shanghai corporate building that’s touted as China’s largest LEED-certified building.

AECOM president and CEO John M. Dionisio described Ellerbe Becket as a “prominent firm” with a project mix and geographic presence that complements AECOM’s offerings.

“We were particularly attracted to the firm’s expertise in the rapidly expanding global health care and sports markets,” Dionisio said in a press release. “We view this as the perfect opportunity to scale our growth as a leading provider of design services and we welcome Ellerbe Becket to our global team.”

Ellerbe Becket’s local projects of note include the Regions Hospital expansion in St. Paul, the 128-bed Neuroscience/Orthopedic/Spine Patient Care Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, and a major renovation of Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota.

International projects include: the Kingdom Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; University Hospital in Dubai Healthcare City; and the Samsung Cancer Center in South Korea.

Current work includes a new arena for the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association, and health care/hospital projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Houston, Dubai, and Qatar, among other locations.

Health care and sports are “a couple of areas of expertise they did not have that we bring to their team,” Buggy noted.