Grubb Files for Bankruptcy, Sells All Assets to BGC Partners
- Feb 21, 2012
February 21, 2012
By Nicholas Ziegler, News Editor
BGC Partners Inc., an intermediary firm to global financial markets, has just purchased “substantially all assets” of troubled commercial real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis Inc. BGC already owns Newmark Knight Frank, another large player in the CRE services world.
Thomas D’Arcy, president & CEO of Grubb, said in a statement that he expects the transition to be “seamless for our clients, and we expect no disruption to the company’s options.” He went on to note that BGC both purchased Grubb’s senior debt and will be providing incremental financing to “ensure the smooth execution of the sale.”
A source familiar with the matter told Commercial Property Executive that the senior debt — which was formerly held by NYC-based C-III Capital Partners and Colony Capital L.L.C., who had an exclusive timeframe to make an offer for Grubb — was acquired for $25 million. However, with the deal’s structure, the remaining debt, including common stock and past-due invoices, will likely be wiped out. Additionally, BGC will have final approval power on all outstanding invoices.
Grubb & Ellis has been facing a hard few months. In December, Grubb furloughed at least 24 workers just before Thanksgiving, with another round of cuts looming — and the real estate services firm was actively seeking a buyer and the was undergoing a review process with Capital Partners and Colony Capital. The exclusivity on that process, which allowed C-III to make an offer for Grubb, expired in mid-January of this year.
On Jan. 9, CPE reported that the NYSE de-listed Grubb for falling below $15 million in average global market cap over a 30-day period. At that point, the firm began trading on the OTCQB marketplace operated by OTC Markets Group.
Grubb intends to begin its own sale to BGC as an asset sale under section 363 of the bankruptcy code, allowing for a free-and-clear transaction that does not require competing assets or sales to complete, expediting the transition. BGC has committed to provide Grubb with debtor-in-possession financing to support the company’s operations throughout the sale process. Following court approval, the DIP financing, combined with funds generated by the company’s ongoing operations, will be used to support the business through the consummation of the sale.
While it remains to be seen how BGC integrates the platforms of both Grubb and Newmark, D’Arcy noted that “our professionals and clients will benefit greatly by being part of the BGC organization, which, with its recent acquisition of Newmark Knight Frank, will bring together two strong brands to create a powerhouse in the commercial real estate space.”
Check back with CPE for more as this story develops.
*This story was updated at 11:44 a.m. EST on Feb. 21, 2012, to clarify Grubb & Ellis’ previous reductions in workforce.