Copenhagen-based Ramboll Group A/S will double its U.S. workforce base, with the purchase Dec. 17 of OBG, a Syracuse, N.Y., design-builder that specializes in energy, environment and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Deal terms for the 900-person, employee-owned firm were not disclosed, but 91% of OBG shareholders approved it. 

Says one industry mergers consultant: "They didn’t need to sell so it has to be a good deal."

He adds that the transaction highlights long term sector and demographic "disruptors" and continuing expansion in the "highly attractive" U.S. market by overseas buyers.

OBG ranks at No. 112 on ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms list, reporting $137.2 million in 2017 revenue. Ramboll, which ranked 23rd on ENR’s Top 150 Global Design Firms list with $1.64 billion in 2017 worldwide revenue, says the buy creates a $2-billion U.S. unit with 2,000 employees.

The firm, which has a 15,000-person global staff, bought Virginia-based ENVIRON in 2014 and notes 9.5% organic growth in the U.S.

Jim Fox, CEO of OBG, now is Ramboll’s managing director of North and South American operations. Tom Nowlan, OBG’s CEO-elect, becomes regional chief operating officer.