Court Approval Paves Way for BGC to Form Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

After receiving approval from the bankruptcy courts, BGC has completed the acquisition of Grubb & Ellis and has announced the creation of a new firm, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, that combines the assets of G&E with Newmark Knight Frank.

After its purchase of Grubb & Ellis Inc., BGC Partners found itself with an interesting dilemma on its hands: It needed to best integrate Grubb’s assets and platform with those of Newmark Knight Frank, another recent acquisition. While the deal was expected to yield a merged firm, the courts needed to weigh in. Now, nearly a month after the deal for Grubb was announced, BGC has answered. The new firm will be an amalgamation of the two into Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which will be a full-service CRE platform. The deal was complete following the approval of the Grubb acquisition by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Barry Gosin, the former CEO of Newmark Knight Frank, will serve as CEO of the combined companies. Gosin called the deal “a fresh and comprehensive way of indentifying creative, fully integrated solutions to meet clients’ complex real estate objectives” and noted that BGC’s capital will prove a boon for NGKF.

BGC’s saga in the purchase of Grubb has stretched back months. According to our report on Feb. 23, 2012, an individual who’s familiar with Grubb & Ellis, and who spoke with CPE on condition of anonymity, characterized the bankruptcy as “a really rushed filing” and said that during a Tuesday afternoon hearing the judge at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York was openly unhappy with the structure that was proposed.

Much hinged on the course of Grubb’s Chapter 11, the source suggested. If it mostly goes smoothly, BGC will have nailed down a great deal for its $25 million. But if pulling the bankruptcy together were to drag on well beyond the 30 to 45 days being mentioned as a time frame, the source wouldn’t be shocked to see BGC walk, rather than keep shelling out debtor-in-possession funding.

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 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.

Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., acted as a financial adviser to BGC in connection with this transaction.

According to a press release from BGC, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank and its London-based partner Knight Frank operate more than 240 offices on five continents.