GVA and Manchester-based consultancy How Planning are in early stage negotiations over a possible company acquisition, it has emerged.
Gary Halman, managing partner of How, confirmed to Place that he had had an “approach from GVA” over the potential acquisition, but said talks were too early to divulge details.
“We are in negotiations, the approach from GVA represents an interesting opportunity and there would be lots of positives, but it is still very much in the early stages,” he said.
A How takeover by GVA would make the Manchester planning practice one of the largest in the North. There are more than 30 staff working in How’s Peter Street office, which, alongside Halman, is led by partners Richard Barton, Jon Suckley, Neil Lucas, Richard Woodford.
“GVA has a great regional network, a strong pedigree and a like-mindedness to our company,” continued Halman. “But any decision moving forward has to be done in the best interests of our company and staff first, and what is best for their progression.”
GVA has 135 staff in Manchester, including six new hires last month. The office is headed up by senior director Chris Cheap.
The planning division has suffered some senior departures over the years. Director Ian Griffiths left for CBRE earlier this year. In 2015, head of planning Iain Jenkinson moved to CBRE, alongside director Chris Argent, shortly followed by associate director James Sheppard. Later that year, GVA beefed up its planning department with a team of three from Knight Frank and a hire from Pegasus. The planning and development team is led by director Nicola Rigby.
GVA declined to comment.