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May 11, 2015

DTZ, Cushman & Wakefield announce merger

San Diego Source | The Daily Transcript

Thor Kamban Biberman

Cushman & Wakefield and DTZ -- both of which have San Diego offices -- say they will combine in a deal creating one of the world's largest real estate companies.

Exor SpA, an Italian investment firm that owns most of Cushman & Wakefield, said Monday that DTZ will buy Cushman for $2.04 billion.

The combined company will be called Cushman & Wakefield, and will have about 43,000 employees, but it is unclear what will become of the brokers.

DTZ reported a total of 73 commercial brokers in its San Diego area offices when asked recently; the peak level was about 105 brokers prior to the recession.

The firm reported it had a total of 174 employees in the local offices as of the end of 2014.

There's no exact number of brokers Cushman & Wakefield currently has in San Diego. The local offices have seen about 15 brokers leave since last September.

Most of them went to Kidder Mathews, a firm that has recruited with the promise of 90 percent commission splits to its brokers.

The firm told The Daily Transcript it had a total of 110 brokers and support staff in the San Diego offices as of the end of 2014. The estimated number of remaining brokers here range from about 45 to 60.

Neither Dan Broderick, DTZ's regional managing principal, nor Brunson Howard, Cushman & Wakefield senior managing director, could be reached by press time Monday.

Both firms each had about $2 billion sales and leasing volume in the county during the past year, compared to CBRE (NYSE: CBG), which reported about $4.6 billion in sales and leasing volume in the San Diego area last year, according to The Daily Transcript Sourcebook data.

DTZ merged with Cassidy-Turley, which in turn were acquired by TPG Capital, PAG Asian Capital and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in November, and focused on international real estate at the time.

The combined company is expected to see revenues of more than $5.5 billion. Its more than 43,000 brokers and support staff will manage in excess of 4 billion square feet around the world on behalf of institutional, corporate and private clients.

"DTZ is elated to be merging under the prominent Cushman & Wakefield brand," said Brett White, the merged company's future chairman and CEO in a statement. "The companies have remarkably complementary skills and reach in different geographies."

White is a 30-year industry veteran who previously served as CEO for CBRE.

Cushman & Wakefield is based in New York. It was founded in 1917 and is one of the world's largest commercial real estate firms.

Exor said it will get $1.28 billion in net proceeds from its part of the sale.

The companies expect to complete the deal before the end of 2015.

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