Are architectural practices less valuable than engineering and environmental consulting firms? That seems to be what the data from the newly released 2015 A/E Business Valuation and Merger & Acquisition Transactions Study suggest. The study, which examined actual stock transactions among A/E and environmental consulting firms nationwide over the last three years (over 230 in all) showed a notable difference between valuation multiples (specifically earnings multiples) of architecture firms and those of engineering and environmental consulting firms.
Other valuation multiples showed a similar difference. However, Ian Rusk (Rusk O’Brien Gido + Partners), a contributing editor to the study, gives a word of caution about the results. “One or two valuation multiples don’t always tell the whole story,” he says. “Financial performance metric data from the study also showed that the participating architecture firms had some of the highest profit margins in the sample, and the values of those firms on a per employee basis were some of the highest.”
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