After rejecting three earlier offers, energy-industrial services firm Wood Group said it has now agreed to negotiate a proposed acquisition bid by Dubai-based engineer Sidara, formerly Dar Group, its fourth offer since early May that now sets a $2.03-billion purchase price. 

The board of the U.K. based company, which also has a large U.S. operation, said June 5 it will give Sidara access to due diligence materials after rejecting three previous bids as “undervalued.” The first was $1.8 billion on May 8. Sidara said the latest offer was its “final,” but at Wood Group's request,, a U.K. government deadline now is extended to July 3 for the Dubai firm to have a firm deal or end M&A talks. 

Sidara, which changed its name from Dar Group in 2023, also is parent of Lebanon-based engineering consultant Dar Al-Handasah Consultants, U.K. project management firm Currie & Brown, as well as global architect Perkins & Will and engineer TYLin, both U.S.-based. Sidara, listed as Dar Group, ranks at No. 23 among the Top 150 Global Design Firms, reporting $2.2 billion in 2022 revenue—all international and 46% in the U.S.   

Wood Group ranks No. 13 on ENR’s latest Top 150 Global Design Firms list, reporting $3.48 billion in 2022 global engineering revenue—$2.87 billion outside the U.K., with 36% in the U.S. The firm also is No. 134 on ENR’s Top 250 Global Contractors list, reporting $2.84 billion in 2022 global construction revenue. 

In January, Wood Group reported about $6 billion in 2023 revenue, up 9% across all business units. But on May 9, it reported a 6% drop in first-quarter revenue compared to the same 2023 period, “in part reflecting a change in its strategy that focuses on businesses with higher margins.” 

Wood Group said it “remains confident” in its current strategy and prospects, but in weighing shareholder feedback and other factors, the firm added that its “board has decided to engage with Sidara to determine if a firm offer can be made.”

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management in May 2023 withdrew an announced offer to buy Wood Group for about $2.1 billion after the engineer agreed to entertain what was the equity firm's fifth offer. Neither firm disclosed reasons for the halted negotiations.

Market analyst Ashley Kelty of U.K.-based investment bank Panmure Gordon, told the Times of London that a deal with Sidara has more potential “given the improvement in [Wood Group] performance over the last year and increased backlog making for a better outlook.”

Wood Group, based in Aberdeen, Scotland, has about 35,000 worldwide employees, with its U.S. base in Houston, while Sidara's global workforce numbers about 20,000.

In April, Wood Group said it named Jennifer Richmond to a newly created position of chief strategy officer. She joined the firm in 2022 as executive president of strategy and development following a 19-year career at Jacobs. Wood Group said she has been involved in developing and executing its three-year growth strategy launched in November 2022. 

Also joining the firm in April was Jess Stanley, as president of its Americas operations. Formerly in commercial and operational executive roles for Shell Americas, she now leads more than 4,500 Wood Group employees in client work across North and South America and Trinidad and Tobago, it said.