Stantec signs agreement to acquire Morrison Hershfield

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Major deal in Canadian consulting engineering sector as Stantec buys Morrison Hershfield.

In what is being seen as a major development in the Canadian consulting engineering sector, Stantec has signed an agreement to acquire leading North American employee-owned consulting engineering and management firm, Morrison Hershfield.

The acquisition, which is subject to Morrison Hershfield shareholder, court and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024 and the deal will see Edmonton-headquartered Stantec increase its Canadian workforce by around 10% with the addition of the 1,150 staff of Morrison Hershfield, which is currently headquartered in Markham, Ontario and which has offices in 22 cities across Canada and the US and one in India.

The acquisition of Morrison Hershfield expands Stantec’s presence in most major Canadian markets, and further strengthens its US presence in buildings engineering. Morrison Hershfield is one of the few large Canadian-based engineering firms with core strengths, business lines and clients that are additive to Stantec’s presence in multiple key growth markets, including the Greater Toronto Area. Similarly, Stantec’s global market presence and client relationships will accelerate Morrison Hershfield’s business line growth opportunities as part of Stantec.

Commenting on the acquisition, Gord Johnston, president and chief executive officer of Stantec, said: “We are thrilled to bring a firm of Morrison Hershfield’s stature into the Stantec fold. Our firms have shared a mutual admiration over many years. Stantec and Morrison Hershfield have a similar history from our roots in the Canadian market, growing and diversifying services both by geography and service line. And, importantly, our values and culture are very well aligned.”

The addition of Morrison Hershfield’s Horizontal Infrastructure business is set to double Stantec’s transportation presence in Ontario, bolstering the firm’s bridge, highway, construction administration, programme management and inspection services in a key growth market. According to Stantec, Morrison Hershfield’s capabilities, geographic strengths and client mix are complementary to Stantec’s and combined will result in a formidable player in transportation throughout Canada’s largest province.

In Western Canada, Stantec’s strong market presence will be further solidified with the addition of Morrison Hershfield’s diversified transportation services, well positioning the combined practice for upcoming significant infrastructure project opportunities. The firms share an understanding of market dynamics and client needs, which will help foster early and immediate collaboration on projects.

“Joining the Stantec family marks a historic moment for our 78-year-old company,” said Morrison Hershfield president and CEO Anthony Karakatsanis. “With access to their depth of experts, resources and technology, we will be able to provide our employees with exciting and meaningful work, growth and professional development for the long term. This acquisition provides us with access to many high-profile projects and markets in the communities where our employees live and work,” Karakatsanis said.

Morrison Hershfield’s portfolio of experience focuses on public and private sector clients, including government agencies, municipalities, global technology firms, developers and telecommunications providers.

The deal to buy Morrison Hershfield continues Stantec’s trend of acquiring complementary businesses which has seen the company buy a number of firms in the architectural, construction management and engineering sectors over recent years. Those firms include MWH, Barton Willmore, Peter Brett, ZETCON, Environmental Systems Design, L2P and Cardno.