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DTZ mulls $2B bid for Cushman & Wakefield

By Dan Orlando

DTZ is emerging as a front-runner in a bid to buy Cushman & Wakefield and claim the title of second largest commercial real estate firm in the world.

Australian financial review publication afr.com reported that DTZ is mulling a $2 billion bid to buy C&W in a move that would catapult the company onto the leader board.

Parent company TPG merged DTZ with Cassidy Turley  at the beginning of 2015.
Parent company TPG merged DTZ with Cassidy Turley at the beginning of 2015.

In order to finance deal, Brett White, the former chief executive of CBRE who is now  executive chairman at DTZ, plans to highlight the beginning of his tenure by asking lenders such as Credit Suisse, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and others for about $1.3 billion during a meeting in New York.

Should DTZ acquire the necessary funds and successfully purchase Cushman & Wakefield, they would find themselves right behind White’s former home, CBRE, as the second biggest property services firm in the world.

The purchase of C&W would only be the latest mile marker in DTZ’s parent, TPG’s climb to the top. TPG closed on its $1.05 billion acquisition of Chicago-based DTZ last fall, acquiring the real-estate services firm’s 209 offices in 52 countries and more than $1.9 billion in annual revenue. TPG then merged DTZ with Cassidy Turley, a Washington, D.C., firm via a deal valued at up to $600 million at the beginning of 2015.

“In this sector today, there have been only two true global champions until now. There’s absolutely the opportunity to grow a third,” Ben Gray told the Wall Street Journal when his company moved to acquire DTZ prior to the absorption of Cassidy Turley. Gray is TPG’s managing partner in Asia.
Cushman, which is based in New York, reported $175.4 million in 2014 adjusted EBITDA.

It rang in 2015 by celebrating the acquisition of local giant, Massey Knakal for a reported $100 million.

BRETT WHITE
BRETT WHITE

Before the close of the first quarter, it became apparent that the commercial superpower was itself being shopped by its Italian parent company, Exor.

In March, during a panel that he served on alongside new Cushman & Wakefield executives Paul Massey and Bob Knakal, the company’s tri-state president Ron Lo Russo publicly dismissed the suggestion that the takeover of Massey Knakal was part of a plan by Exor to up the entity’s value before the sale.

He did however admit that the timing of the Massey Knakal acquisition provided “added benefit” at an “opportune time.”

At press time, neither DTZ, Exor nor Cushman & Wakefield hadany comment.

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