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Growing Through Acquisition

Growing Through Acquisition

Using acquisition as a tool for growth is a valid strategy, but one that requires adequate counsel. Acquisition of an inappropriate firm can cause financial and other stresses. A smart, methodical approach that brings together two well-matched firms can help a firm grow while providing richer resources from which to draw.


A well-known architecture firm based in the Pacific Northwest wanted to expand its fledgling California office by acquiring another firm.

The firm had established a California office in 2008, shortly before the economy crashed and a multi-year recession devastated the architecture profession. To their credit, the leadership kept the office open through this period, but realized that they needed to acquire another firm in order to build a stronger presence and capitalize on its local reputation.



We went through a process to ascertain the qualities a candidate firm would require to be compatible with them, and conducted a thorough search of possible targets and sources for acquisition.

Cameron MacAllister worked with the client to reach out both to potential sellers and to other advisory practices in an effort to create a broad pool of candidate firms. The process identified candidate firms with an eye towards their markets, geographic reach, type of projects, profitability, ownership structure, and more.

We introduced our client to these candidate firms and orchestrated conversations to help understand more about them. The discussions were about each firm’s culture, and about financial expectations if an acquisition were to be made. Through this process, our client quickly singled out one firm with which to negotiate an acquisition.


The firm negotiated an acquisition that has turned out to be successful for everyone involved.

Once the target firm had been identified, we helped our client issue a Letter of Intent and initiate a due-diligence process. The negotiations involved discussions about the name of the merged entity, the role of the incoming principals, leadership of the local office, valuation of the business, transaction terms, and integration planning.

The California office boomed, doubling in size in a few short years—helped by a recovering economy, the right leadership, and a collaborative practice with the Pacific Northwest home office.

We engaged Mark Cameron and John Bierly to help us develop an M&A strategy to strengthen our position in an important geographical market. After being approached by a strong candidate firm, John provided invaluable guidance, from initial discussions all the way through the final days of contract negotiations, and provided strategies for ensuring success of the merger post-transaction. Everyone involved appreciated his smarts and calm demeanor for ensuring success of the merger post-transaction.

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  • AC Martin
  • Aedas
  • AIA - Minnesota
  • AIA - LFRT
  • Anderson Brulé Architects
  • Anderson Krygier
  • Ankrom Moisan Architects
  • Architecture Resources Group
  • ArchitectureWorks
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  • Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
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  • CDH Partners
  • Christner Inc.
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  • Degenkolb Engineers
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  • DesignMap
  • DLR Group
  • Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects
  • Dynamik Space
  • E-Cube
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  • Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
  • Feldman Architecture
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  • Frederick Fisher and Partners
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  • Gould Evans
  • Hacker
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  • Holmes Structures
  • Interface Engineering
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  • Miller Hull Partnership
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