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2017 M&A Market outlook - Both Sides Now

Valuations at Historic Highs, Number of Deals at Historic Lows

Industry surveys are reporting 2017 M&A valuations for environmental consulting and engineering (C&E) firms at 10-year highs, citing record breaking P/E ratios and valuations of publicly traded companies, a demand from buyers to grow through M&A, and a shortage of companies available for acquisitions.

While this would seem to be good news for sellers, what was a surprise to many, including us, was that 2016 and the start of 2017 actually saw a dramatic decline in M&A deals in the environmental C&E sector.

Engineering News Record (ENR) reported a double-digit falloff in M&A activity in 2016, to the lowest level since 2013 and the sharpest decline rate since the recession.  M&A reports for Q1 2017 show M&A deals falling off by 17.9% versus the first quarter of 2016. To be clear, deals are getting done at all levels as reported by 2020 Environmental Group and other industry M&A advisors. Just not at the higher volumes we saw in 2015 when valuations were lower.

So, what are we to make of this disparity in the market? Will the trend continue? Thinking about this reminded me of one of my favorite Joni Mitchell songs, Both Sides Now, because clearly there are two sides to this story.


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2020 expands to pacific northwest and Opens Seattle Washington Office

We're very excited to announce 2020's expansion to the Pacific Northwest and opening of  our Seattle Washington office, scheduled for July 2017. Our presence in Seattle will allow us to better serve our clients in the PNW and nationally.  Dan Spiers, 2020 Partner and Co-Founder, will be heading up the Seattle office.


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2020 Advises E2 ManageTech on the sale of its Environmental Services Division to EnSafe

2020 Environmental Group (2020) is pleased to announce the sale of E2 ManageTech’s (E2) Environmental Services Division to EnSafe. 

2020 initiated the transaction and served as the exclusive M&A advisor to E2 as they sought to divest its traditional site assessment/remediation and permitting practice and further focus on the rapid growth of its EHS Management Information Systems (EMIS) practice.

According to Glenn Mayer, Founder and President of E2 ManageTech, 2020 partnered with us from strategy to completion and executed a well-run M&A sale process for our Environmental Division. Starting with an effective marketing campaign to strategic buyers, evaluation and negotiations with interested parties, and ending by facilitating E2 ManageTech and EnSafe to reach agreement and successfully close the deal.

Founded in 1998, E2 ManageTech is a leading EMIS consultant with offices in Chicago, Houston, Austin, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Southern California.

Founded in 1980, EnSafe is now over 375 employees in 28 offices throughout the U.S., from New Hampshire to California. 


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2017 U.S. Environmental Consulting & Engineering Industry market Report, Published by Environmental Business Journal

2020's al spiers featured in M&A Market Perspectives

The U.S. Environmental Consulting & Engineering Industry (updated June 2017) is the definitive strategic business information resource on the U.S. Environmental Consulting & Engineering Industry. Recent market forecasts for 2017-2018 based on new EBI surveys and client-sector economic forecasts are balanced with historical perspective on the evolution of the industry and leading players in this encyclopedia of the C&E industry. EBI Report 727's 2,500+ pages analyze markets, competition, customers, management and service trends in the $30-billion U.S. environmental consulting & engineering market, as well as trends and leaders in the $68-billion global C&E market.

Sections are devoted to market segmentation, quantification and forecasts to 2020 by customer, media, service and geography; management & operations; M&As and consolidation; international activity and global markets; profiles of key market niches and 900+ pages of company profiles.

EBI Report 727 also comes with the R727 Dataset that is similar to the more frequently updated Environmental Consulting & Engineering Datapack.


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2020 Advises PBS on its Acquisition of HDJ

PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc, a 140-person Portland OR based environmental and engineering consulting firm, has acquired HDJ Design Group, a 60-person civil engineering and planning firm in Vancouver, WA.

2020 Environmental Group served as PBS’s Strategic Growth and M&A Advisor on the HDJ transaction, including evaluation of synergies, financial due diligence, Letter of Intent and Sale and Purchase Agreement.


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2020 Advises Iris Environmental on its Sale to RPS Group

2020 Environmental Group (2020) is pleased to announce the successful sale of Iris Environmental (Iris) to RPS Group for a maximum consideration of $13.5 million, all payable in cash.  2020 initiated the transaction and served as the exclusive M&A advisor to Iris. 

Founded in 1999, Iris has its headquarters in Oakland California with a second office in Irvine California.  The company employs about 35 staff and undertakes projects associated with managing environmental liabilities and risk primarily for private sector clients in California, particularly technology companies in Silicon Valley. In 2014, Iris had revenues of $10.1 million.

RPS Group, headquartered in Abington, United Kingdom, employs more than 5000 staff with offices in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, the United States, Canada and Australia Asia Pacific.

Alan Hearne, Chief Executive of RPS Group commented, "The acquisition of Iris further develops RPS Group activities in the US environmental risk/due diligence market.”


2020 Advises Vironex environmental on its sale to Cascade

2020 is pleased to announce the successful sale of Vironex Environmental Field Services, Inc. (Vironex) to Cascade Drilling, L.P. (Cascade). 2020 initated the transaction and served as the exclusive M&A advisor to Vironex.

The combined company now employs approximately 590 people across 35 offices with over 250 drill rigs enabling both Vironex and Cascade to better serve clients on a national level. 

Alan Livadas, Founder and CEO of Vironex commented, "The 2020 Environmental team did an outstanding job every step of the way, executing a highly effective and professional M&A process."


2020 Advises Jacobs Associates in its Merger with McMillen

San Francisco based engineering and consulting firm Jacobs Associates and Boise based engineering, construction and environmental firm McMillen LLC announced that the two firms have merged to form McMillen Jacobs Associates.

The combined resources of the merger provide clients access to 380 staff located in 19 offices across North America, New Zealand, and Australia.

Al Spiers, CEO of 2020 Environmental Group, sat on the Board of Directors of Jacobs Associates, and advised Jacob's CEO and Board on the merger deal structure, LOI and purchase agreement, and integration.


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2020 Wins Environmental Industry Leadership Award

2020 Environmental Group is honored to receive the Environmental Business Journal’s Environmental Industry Leadership Award for opening new paths to strategic growth and value for environmental businesses across the U.S. and internationally. According to EBJ, "2020 has created a new discipline of management consulting that bridges the institutional knowledge of this mature industry with new tools for the next generation of environmental business leaders. 2020's partners have provided thought leadership to a growing list of small, mid-size and global firms serving as advisors on strategic growth, financial performance, ownership transition, and mergers and acquisitions."