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February 07, 2017

Kidder Mathews, Heger Form Largest Firm in the West

Kelsi Maree Borland

LOS ANGELES - Kidder Mathews and Heger Industrial have merged to form the largest privately owned brokerage firm on the West Coast. The strategic growth move gives Kidder Mathews a strong foothold in the Southern California market and Herger a more robust platform with offices throughout the West Coast and more than 600 brokers. The combined firm will retain the Kidder Mathews name. We sat down with Jeff Lyon, CEO of Kidder Mathews, and Robert Thornburgh, a principal at Heger Industrial, to talk about the details of the merger. Why was this merger a good fit for both firms?

Robert Thornburgh: This really started without the intention of merging whatsoever. Since 2001, Heger has been experiencing unprecedented growth, and we have been fortunate enough to get a lot of wins in the marketplace and have had a good strategy. My business partner and I started to look at what the evolution of our company was going to be. I wanted to fly up to talk to Jeff about why they have been so successful, and what was suppose to be an hour lunch turned into a three-plus hour lunch. We just hit it off, and you could quickly tell the synergies between our firms, our cultures, the integrity, and what drives us. It checked every box.

Jeff Lyon: Kidder Mathews opened its tenth office in San Diego 25 months ago, and there were big opportunities in the Southern California market. I thought that we could do this better together than apart. As we continued to grow and open up offices, we would have conversations with potential recruits, and they would say we needed to have offices in the South Bay for them to come over. Those were all markets where Heger was, and we weren't going to be able to get there until 2018. How do your strategies and growth goals align?

Thornburgh: Our strategies are very common. I would argue that so much of our vision comes back to the people. In our business, intellectual capital really rests not in patents or products but in the group of people that deliver the service platform. Both companies place a huge premium on the right people. Both companies have been innovating over the last 10 years in many unique ways, and there is a desire not to just push but to expect to become number one. We both care about the quality of service that we deliver.

Lyon: From our standpoint, this was not only a cultural fit but our philosophy as well. Kidder Mathews put together our 2020 plan 25 months ago, and the key to the whole plan was attracting the right talent. Once I met him and he talked about what they were trying to do and what they were doing, it fit in so well with the plan that we were executing. It was really a natural fit. What our companies have done for years is provide all of the infrastructure and resources to attract the right talent. That is what it takes to provide a high level of service. This merger makes your firm the largest privately owned brokerage firm on the West Coast. Tell me about the combined company.

Lyon: One of the things that were very attractive was not only the position they had as an industrial company, but it gave us a great foundation in both the brokerage and property management side. They have 35 brokers in the offices, and then 3.6 million square feet under management. That just dovetails into what Kidder Mathews has, so we are going to be up to an excess of 46 million square feet collectively on the West Coast. This will push us up close to 650 brokers and expand our business lines in Southern California. Our company is unique because we are privately held, and there is a lot of consolidation going on. That is where we really fit in, and we end up being a great source for individuals that are successful at publicly traded companies but don't want to put up with a Wall Street quarterly earnings report. This is really a great opportunity for us to continue to grow and attract talent. Do you have any specific goals in mind that you can accomplish with this larger platform?

Thornburgh: This gives us an additional credibility in the marketplace to attract good talent because everything that we said we were going to do in the marketplace, we are actually accomplishing in a very short period of time. The platform we offer is better than anything else in the industry, but at the end of the day, we still have to attract the talent. Will the leadership structure change as a result of the merger?

Lyon: This is really about our succession plan long term. Rob is going to be on our succession committee, internal management and helping us grow the whole platform in the L.A. area. This solidifies our position to remain independent and privately held.

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