After exploring a sale process for more than a year, interior design firm Wilson Associates has agreed to be acquired by a Chinese architectural firm.

Shanghai Xian Dai Architectural Design Group Co. Ltd. wrapped up its purchase of the Dallas-based firm for an undisclosed price. While terms of the transaction remain undisclosed, the deal is said to be valued at just under $100 million. The acquisition expands Wilson's project portfolio and allows it to apply hotel and luxury hospitality designs to Xian Dai's past and upcoming projects, which include auditoriums, museums, airports and theaters.

"It was very clear that Wilson's board wanted to find the right partner," chief executive officer Olivier Chavy tells Mergers  & Acquisitions. The agreement comes just eight months after Chavy was brought into the company with the intention of exploring deal opportunities.

Wilson tapped Chicago investment banker Elliot Farkas of William Blair to run the sale.

Chavy says there were two potential buyers other than Xian Dai--one based in the U.S. and the other in Europe.

When talks with Xian Dai began in September, "I knew it would expand our portfolio dramatically," Chavy adds. "It would be a bright future for our talent."

Xian Dai facilitated the deal through its subsidiary East China Architectural Design & Research Institution Co. Ltd. Xian Dai expects to go public on the Shanghai stock exchange within 12 to 18 months.

The transaction closed in the midst of Wilson's plans to open up a new office in Dubai, with Firas Alsalih at the helm, Chavy says.

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