Latham and Wachtell advise on $3.27bn acquisition of HS2 contractor by Jacobs Engineering

Latham & Watkins, Fried Frank, and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz have taken lead roles on Jacobs Engineering’s $3.27bn (£2.47bn) acquisition of global engineering rival CH2M.

CH2M, which is based in Colorado, has about 2,500 staff in the UK, of a total of 20,000 around the world. It has won a number of high profile UK contracts in recent years, including work on HS2 and refurbishing the Palace of Westminster.

However, the company pulled out phase two of the HS2 contact in March this year, citing protracted delays and ongoing speculation risk.

CH2M is being represented by Latham on the deal. The US firm is fielding a team led by Silicon Valley corporate partner Tad Freese, alongside benefits and compensation partner James Metz, intellectual property partner Anthony Klein and San Francisco tax partner Grace Lee.

Delaware-based firm Richards Layton & Finger is also advising CH2M.

Meanwhile, Fried Frank and Wachtell are advising Jacobs on the acquisition, with Wachtell’s team led by corporate partner David Katz.

The deal’s total enterprise value of $3.27bn includes approximately $416m (£314m) of CH2M net debt. It is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.

Jacobs, which is based in Dallas, also has operations across the UK in cities including London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. Other firms to have advised the company in the past include Paul Hastings and Allens, Linklaters’ Australian alliance firm, both of which acted on its $1.2bn purchase of Australia’s Sinclair Knight Merz in 2013.

CH2M, meanwhile, has a relationship with Hogan Lovells. In 2011, a London-based team from the firm, led by corporate partner Nicola 
Evans, advised on its £124m acquisition of British engineering company Halcrow.