Why a Merger Wave Washed Over Manhattan CRE in 2014
January 7, 2015

On New Year’s Eve, Cushman & Wakefield closed on its acquisition of Massey Knakal Realty Services, thereby finishing the last big commercial real estate merger in a 2014 full of them.

Other large-scale takeovers included DTZ’s acquisition of brokerage Cassidy Turley (which followed private-equity firm TPG Capital’s takeover of DTZ, a property services firm); and London-based brokerage Savills’ acquisition of New York tenant-rep brokerage Studley. CBRE, the city’s biggest commercial brokerage, also acquired 10 different firms worldwide, including real estate consultancy IVI International, which is based in White Plains...

...Savills bought Studley in a $260 million for much the same reasons. The brokerage has more than 500 offices globally and some 27,000 employees—but it barely touched New York City, or much of the U.S. for that matter. The Journal estimated that less than 1 percent of Savills’ $1.5 billion in revenue in 2013 came from the U.S.

It now gets access to Studley’s nearly 600 employees in 25 offices nationally, including in New York, where the smaller firm has long been one of the most active tenant rep operations. And Studley, in turn, gets Savills’ vast European and Asian contacts. Studley’s top 500 domestic clients, in fact, have more than 9,000 locations in Savills’ non-U.S. markets, according to a release about the merger.

“It was really a client-driven solution,” said Mitchell Steir, the chairman and CEO of Savills Studley (he held similar roles at Studley). “The world is getting smaller. … Both firms needed to fill holes both in terms of international talent and locations in order to serve their clientele.”

All indications are that this strong real estate market, and stronger economy, will continue in 2015. That could mean 2014’s M&A activity is but the start of something...

Why a Merger Wave Washed Over Manhattan CRE in 2014

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