British construction group Balfour Beatty has agreed to buy U.S. project management firm Parsons Brinckerhoff for $626 million, and will ask shareholders to help fund the deal, it said on Thursday.
Britain's biggest infrastructure contractor, whose activities span roads, rail and schools, said it planned to raise 353 million pounds ($584 million) towards the deal from a fully-underwritten 3 for 7 rights issue.
The new shares will be offered at 180 pence each, or just under half Balfour Beatty's current share price, the company said in a statement. Balfour shares jumped on the news and were up 8 percent at 371.5 pence by 1305 GMT.
Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler told Reuters the group was confident investors would back the cash call.
The rights issue is fully underwritten and we've had very good support from them, he said in a telephone interview.
The strategy we're developing here is absolutely what we've been talking about, and they've been very supportive of it.
New York City-based Parsons Brinckerhoff is an employee-owned company that provides consulting, planning, engineering and construction management services to both the public and private sectors.
Balfour said buying the company would allow it to take part in the design and planning side of major infrastructure projects, making it one of the world's leading players in providing white collar services to the construction industry.
No jobs will be lost as a result of the deal, Balfour's Tyler added.
This is all about growing the top line and indeed the total value that we create from the business, not reducing cost, he said.
(Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Mike Nesbit)