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Court approves sale of bankrupt Birdsall's assets to Partner Engineering

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The sale of the assets of Birdsall Services Group to Partner Engineering and Science was approved today by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark.

According to a statement by Partner, the court approved the sale of most of Birdsall's assets to Partner, a national engineering firm with New Jersey offices in Ramsey and Red Bank. Monmouth County-based Birdsall filed for bankruptcy in March following allegations of illegal employee campaign contributions.

The court approved a May agreement requiring Partner to pay $5.6 million for select assets, including accounts receivable, physical assets, select contracts, existing project files, select intellectual property and license agreements. The agreement also requires Partner to make additional payments to the court in the summer of 2014, based on performance.

When Partner's New Jersey team heard of Birdsall's troubles, they recognized an opportunity, according to the company.

"I thought, 'What a shame that this is happening to such a well-respected firm.' There are a lot of really good people there that are still doing great work," said Frank Romeo, director of East Coast operations for Partner. "But I realized that we could do something about it.'"

Partner said it has one of the largest engineering and environmental consulting practices in the country, and will now have the added depth of Birdsalls's design and engineering talent and client base. Partner said Birdsall will complete its current contracts and will continue to operate under the Partner name.

"We are here and we're working," said Ralph Orlando, a veteran of the New Jersey engineering industry who stepped in as chief executive of Birdsall last year. "I have been told by a number of clients who discontinued service that they will look to undertake new contracts with Partner once the sale is finalized. It is exciting to be part of rebuilding the business."

Birdsall has a long history of providing services on numerous major public and private projects, including the W Hotel, in Hoboken, Union City High School; and Pier Village, in Long Branch.

The purchase is expected to close by June 20. Partner said it will retain as many of Birdsall's 130 New Jersey employees as possible. Based in Torrance, Calif., Partner has more than 250 employees in 24 offices nationwide.

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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