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Tetra Tech launches Coffey takeover

Tetra Tech launches Coffey takeover

John Elliott

Two firms have acted on a takeover bid by US-based Tetra Tech of Australian engineering firm Coffey International.

Firm: Norton Rose Fulbright (Coffey International); Thomson Geer (Tetra Tech)

Deal: Tetra Tech will make an off-market offer for 100 per cent of Coffey International shares on issue.

Value: $109m

Area: M&A

Key players: The Norton Rose Fulbright team comprised partner John Elliott, special counsel Ebony Keenan-Dunn and lawyer Lucinda Browne, with the assistance of Washington-based partner Dan Wellington. Thomson Geer's team was headed up by partner David Ziwi, along with senior associate Helen Jin and lawyer Johan Pietersz.

Deal significance: Coffey International – Australia’s first geotechnical engineering firm – comprises around 3,300 staff globally.

According to a statement from Coffey International, Tetra Tech has offered 42.5 cents per share, a premium of 130 per cent on Coffey International’s last closing price on 14 October.

Tetra Tech said the acquisition of Coffey will expand its geographic presence, according to a statement from Thomson Geer. The company currently supports the U.S. Agency for International Development, Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.

The offer was also welcomed by Coffey International chairman John Mulcahy.

“On all indications available to us, it represents superior value to what we can foresee, over a realistic time frame, from continuing as a standalone business,” he said.

“While this is a valuable opportunity for shareholders, it is also very beneficial for the highly talented Coffey team of employees, who should see enhanced career opportunities as part of a combined Tetra Tech and Coffey global business.”

Norton Rose Fulbright partner John Elliott suggested Australia was experiencing a surge of interest in current and proposed infrastructure projects.

“It is no surprise then that a US company such as Tetra Tech is taking steps to strengthen its position in the Asia-Pacific with the acquisition of Coffey International,” he said.

Coffey International's other adviser on the deal was Gresham Partners.

Note: This article was updated with additional information.

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