GVA, which employs 150 people in Manchester and 25 in Liverpool, has announced Bilfinger, the €8.5bn-turnover global engineering and services group, as its merger partner.
A memorandum of understanding has been agreed that will, subject to outstanding legalities and a shareholder vote, transform GVA's drive for major growth and significantly strengthen its ambitions to compete on the world stage.
Exchange of contracts and completion is expected before the end of June 2014. The transaction will involve a transfer of GVA's existing shares to give Bilfinger Real Estate 100% ownership.
This transaction will allow LDC, the private equity investor with a 27.5% stake in GVA, to exit. LDC's initial investment supported the company through a financial restructuring programme to help GVA secure access to external capital to undertake large acquisitions.
Bilfinger, which is based in Mannheim and listed on the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, employs 74,000 staff throughout its 14 divisions worldwide.
The decision to work with Bilfinger Real Estate as GVA's preferred strategic merger partner follows the completion of a review by investment bank Canaccord Genuity, which commenced in October 2013, into GVA's options to enhance its medium to long-term growth.
Mark Rawstron, regional senior director at the firm's Manchester office, said: "The service we provide to our clients will very much remain the same. There will be no change to our team structures or to our office locations. Our commitment to the core cities and regions remains a top priority and this key differentiator was one of the things Bilfinger was attracted to.
"In addition our brand, which represents huge capital value, will not change immediately but will evolve over a matter of years.
"However, it's equally critical to convey that our partnering with Bilfinger Real Estate combined with LDC's exit will offer a hugely exciting opportunity for clients and an unprecedented prospect for us to create a truly international dimension to our UK-facing business."
Aydin Karaduman, chief executive at Bilfinger Real Estate, said: "This deal is part of a strategic plan to develop a leading international real estate consultancy and management offer with representation in every major commercial centre in the world."