Aecom (AECOM) shares spiked Wednesday on a report that merger talks between the company and Canadian rival WSP Global were heating up.
Sources told Bloomberg that a deal could be reached as soon as next week as recent market volatility has hampered the negotiations. Sources also said that discussions could drag on further or fall apart.
Rumors about a tie-up between the two companies have been swirling since mid-January, with early reports suggesting that the deal might value Aecom in the mid-to-high $50s per share.
Activist investor Starboard Value last year had pressed for change at Aecom. In October, Aecom agreed to sell its management services unit to a group of private-equity firms for $2.4 billion.
Aecom has plenty of orders, thanks to government and infrastructure contracts. But in recent years its profits have flattened out because of inefficiency and construction contract losses, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
Meanwhile, WSP has been growing through acquisitions. In November it announced a deal to purchase Elton Consulting Group, an Australian infrastructure and real estate consulting company.
In December it closed the purchase of Ecology and Environment, an environmental engineering group in Lancaster, N.Y., for $67 million.
A tie-up with Aecom would give WSP a bigger share of business in the U.S. and could generate cost savings of about $200 million, Deutsche Bank analyst Chad Dillard wrote in a January note.
Aecom shares rose 7.13% in trading Wednesday to $51.07.