Colliers Acquires Portland Firm

Colliers International has acquired the brokerage operations of NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson, pushing it to become the market leader in Portland.

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

Martin Pupil, president for Colliers’ Western Region
Martin Pupil, president for Colliers’ Western Region

Colliers International Group Inc., has acquired the brokerage operations of NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson in Portland, Ore., pushing it to become the market leader in the city and a leader in the Pacific Northwest.

For more than 80 years, NBS has provided extensive real estate advisory services to a broad range of clients across multiple property types including office, industrial, retail, multifamily and land.

“NBS is very well-entrenched in Portland. We had about 25 brokers, they had 50 brokers, so first and foremost they give us a lot of scale and depth in the market,” Martin Pupil, president for Colliers’ Western Region, told Commercial Property Executive. “A lot of there brokers and services they offered, both on the capital markets side and suburban office leasing, were very complementary to our more core office, leasing and industrial group, so it was a great fit between the two groups.”

The entire NBS team will join Colliers creating the dominant local platform across multiple services and property types and all offices will immediately rebrand as Colliers International. David Kotansky will continue as managing director of Colliers in Portland, while Chris Johnson, former president of brokerage operations of NBS, will take on the title of executive vice president.

According to Pupil, the deal was a strategic growth acquisition opportunity, not just about piling on more people to more people.

“When you look at the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and Portland and now we’re into Vancouver with the NBS acquisition, allows us to continue to focus on what our core strengths are as a company, which is number one, first and foremost being local and being able to leverage those markets into more regional opportunities,” he said. “Chris Johnson and his capital markets team will be able to help us in Seattle and the markets on the west coast as well.”

The Pacific Northwest is a growing region, led by technology companies, and Portland is becoming the place Millennials want to be, and an emerging market that attracted Colliers.

The deal started to come together about a year ago, as NBS had an aging majority shareholder base (averaging 76 years old) and the minority shareholders, who were younger and producing, felt the current flag of an independent shop wasn’t the right way to go from a succession planning perspective.

“While it was a difficult decision to sell our brokerage services, the result is a win-win situation for all parties, particularly our clients,” Jan Robertson, NBS’s CEO, said. “Clients will continue to benefit from the exceptional local expertise of our advisors they have come to depend upon, combined with the added strength of the Colliers innovative national and global platform.”

NBS’ other business segments—including real estate finance and its Morrison Street Capital operations—are not part of the deal.