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06/30/09 06:55 AM


Cannon Design in merger talks

By Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Cannon Design, a Grand Island- based architecture and engineering firm, is in talks to merge with OWP/P, an architecture, interior design and engineering firm with offices in Chicago and Phoenix.

The move will bolster Cannon’s presence in both cities and strengthen its Midwest portfolio. The deal is expected to close early next month, adding 300 employees to Cannon’s 850-person roster.

Because the two companies are still operating under a tentative memorandum of understanding, company spokespersons declined to offer details about the merger.

But Cannon spokeswoman Cynthia Hillier said the two companies have been in talks for 18 months and have already been working on joint projects together for clients such as Banner Health medical centers in Arizona.

“Both companies are multidisciplinary in nature, are culturally compatible. There is a good agreement of vision, values and culture,” said Hillier. “Architecture and engineering are collaborative disciplines. It’s important for two companies to be aligned culturally.”

Both companies have portfolios in healthcare, education and sports as well as private and civic markets. OWP/P is a key player in the higher education market, which could provide a boost for Cannon. The merger would benefit OWP/P by giving it an instant international presence.

In addition to its Phoenix and Chicago locations, Cannon has a significant office in St. Louis. It has a roster of prominent clients in those areas, including Monsanto Corp. in St. Louis, University of Illinois Hospital at Chicago and Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis.

Geography is also an obvious driving factor, allowing the closely-placed companies to consolidate and enhance their market positions.

“Both companies are sure it would be a very successful partnership,” said Hilliers.

Cannon has offices in 10 U. S. cities and four Canadian ones. Internationally, Cannon has offices in Mumbai, India, and Shanghai, China.