Lowell’s TRC agrees to $554M buyout

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Quick, name all the public companies that are headquartered in Lowell…

Well, let’s see, there’s Enterprise Bank and M/A-Com Technology Solutions. Those are the biggies. Then you’ve got CSP Inc., a maker of clustered computer software, which snuck over to the Wannalancit Mills from Billerica a couple years ago. And Softech, a tiny (30 employees or so) provider of lifecycle software, is also in the Wannalancit.

And then there’s that engineering and construction management firm, TRC Cos… Wait, nope. Not for long, anyway.

On Friday, TRC accepted a buyout offer from a private equity firm, New Mountain Partners IV, for $17.55 per share, or about $554.6 million, according to Marketwatch. The report says shareholder will be paid in cash — not bad, considering the offer represents a 47 percent premium from Thursday’s closing price of $11.95. Shares bolted up $5.50 to close Friday at $17.45 (more than triple the stock’s 52-week low), an apparent sign of confidence that the deal will happen in fairly short order.

“This transaction will deliver immediate value to our shareholders while enabling TRC to continue to pursue its long-term growth strategy,” said TRC Chief Executive Chris Vincze, in a statement.

In other words, we no longer need the hassle of satisfying the investment community by hitting some artificial number every 90 days.

TRC posted revenues of $481 million in its most recent fiscal year, which ended last June. The two analysts who submitted forecasts are looking at revenues of $521 million for the current fiscal year (which ends this June 30) and $560 million for Fiscal 2018. So the offer values TRC at just a little more than one times sales. Is that good enough? At least one New York law firm, Harwood Feffer, LLP, is taking a closer look. That’s not unusual in these types of affairs.  

Should the deal close at the agreed-upon price, TRC shareholders will see a 65 percent gain since Jan. 1 alone. I doubt many will complain.

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