Acadiana Business

BR's Big Deal: Shaw sold for $3 billion

by Leslie Turk

Baton Rouge-based Fortune 500 company The Shaw Group is being acquired by CB&I in cash and stock deal valued at $3 billion.

What the $3 billion buyout of The Shaw Group ultimately means for its 27,000 employees around the world and its Baton Rouge headquarters is unknown at this point. Shaw has about 1,000 people working out of its BR office.

The Fortune 500 company announced Monday that it is being acquired by CB&I, formerly Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., in cash and stock deal.

Shaw, whose fiscal year 2011 annual revenues were $5.9 billion, serves the energy, chemicals, environmental, infrastructure and emergency response industries. With U.S. headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas, CB&I engineers and constructs some of the world's largest energy infrastructure projects. The transaction will more than double CB&I's annual revenues.

CB&I (NYSE: CBI) will acquire Shaw (NYSE: SHAW) for $46 per share in cash and stock, a premium of more than 70 percent. Shaw's shareholders will receive $41 in cash and $5 in CB&I equity for each share of Shaw stock at closing.

Shaw's stock closed at $26.69 Friday and was up more than 52 percent by noon Monday; CB&I's stock was down almost 15 percent to $34.71. The Street noted that the acquisition also comes with risk because Shaw Group lost $175 million last year, while CB&I reported a $255 million profit.

Baton Rouge's Daily Report quoted LSU economist Jim Richardson saying that the Capital City is likely on the losing end of this deal. Because CB&I's U.S. operations are based in Houston and "they obviously have a large staff and headquarters there already," it's likely a substantial part of Shaw's corporate operations will move out of state, Richardson said.

"Does this kill your economy? No, not by itself," he told Daily Report. "But as a growing city you like to have big companies coming here, not leaving."

Jim Bernhard Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Shaw, will leave the company when the transaction is finalized early next year.

Read more on the mega deal in Tuesday's Advocate here and Shaw's Monday announcement here.