URS Corp. gained for the first time in three days on speculation the San Francisco-based company that builds bridges and power stations has put itself up for sale.
URS hired Citigroup Inc. and DBO Partners to contact potential buyers and gauge interest, Reuters reported unnamed people as saying. JANA Partners LLC, an activist investor fund, has pressured URS to boost shareholder value, Reuters said.
JANA Partners is the largest shareholder in URS with a 9.8 percent stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. SouthernSun Asset Management is the second largest holder with an 8.2 percent stake. URS has a market value today of $3.6 billion.
Sam Ramraj, URS vice president of investor relations, didn’t immediately respond to a voice message left on his office telephone. Delia Cannan, a spokeswoman for URS through Sard Verbinnen, didn’t immediately return telephone and e-mailed messages seeking comment.
URS rose 2.1 percent to $52.02 at the close in New York after rising as much as 11 percent earlier today. Fluor, the largest publicly traded U.S. engineering and construction firm, fell 0.7 percent to $77 and competitor Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. climbed 1.3 percent to $53.85.
As a result of an agreement with JANA, URS said in March its board of directors would form a “value creation committee” that would hire an investment bank to conduct a strategic review of the company.
The company also agreed to add four new independent board members.
Construction companies have seen their backlog of work rise as oil and gas companies build facilities to take advantage of increasing U.S. production from shale fields in the U.S.