Friday, February 27, 2015

Cushman & Wakefield sale could bring new player into DFW market

The potential sale of Cushman & Wakefield could bring a new player, such as a private equity firm, into the Dallas-Fort Worth market, which is one of the fastest-growing metros in the United States.

The real estate brokerage has been put up for sale by Cushman & Wakefield as approved by the Agnelli family's investment arm ExorSpA, which has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley to market the firm, according to the Wall Street Journal. The firm could garner as much as $2 billion.

In a written statement, a Cushman & Wakefield spokesman said, "As is the normal course of business, both Cushman & Wakefield and EXOR continually seek ways to further enhance the businesses, create value and further accelerate their plans.

"There is currently no transaction to disclose, nor guarantee that such a review may result in any transaction involving Cushman & Wakefield," he added.

This deal could be a big opportunity for a private investment group to gain an important foothold in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, Hunter Blanks, an executive vice president with Colliers International's Dallas office, told the Dallas Business Journal.

"If a group tries to build up an operation like this, they could miss the market," Blanks said. "Cushman & Wakefield is already a group making money and they have a presence in most places."
Cushman & Wakefield's potential buyer could be a consortium, like the one backed by Fort Worth-based private equity firm TPG, which acquired Cassidy Turley earlier this year and merged the firm with DTZ.

A private investment group, much like the group backed by Fort Worth-based TPG that acquired Cassidy Turley and merged the company with DTZ earlier this year. The deal brought in much-needed capital to Cassidy Turley, now DTZ, at an important time in the real estate cycle.

If the brokerage is purchased by a competitor, there could be some consolidation in North Texas' real estate community, Blanks said. Cushman & Wakefield market leader Steve Everbach did not immediately return a request for an interview.

The news of Cushman & Wakefield being put on the market wasn't a surprise, said Mitchell Wolff, executive managing director of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.

"I've heard rumors of this for years," Wolff told the Dallas Business Journal."They will be able to sell it at a premium over what is was worth in 2009.

"There are a ton of players looking at it as a potential investment," he added.

Wolff said he believes the acquisition would have little impact on North Texas' real estate community.

Candace Carlisle, Dallas Business Journal