Cushman & Wakefield, DTZ to Merge

DTZ finally ends months of speculation about the future of Cushman & Wakefield.

Ending months of speculation about the future of Cushman & Wakefield Inc., the services firm and DTZ announced early this morning that they will merge their companies into a global giant.

Financial details of the merger were not immediately disclosed, but it has been widely believed that Cushman & Wakefield was on the market. In a joint statement, the companies noted that the combination will create a firm with upwards of $5.5 billion in combined revenues, more than 4 billion square feet of space under management and 43,000 employees. The newly combined company will operate under the Cushman & Wakefield brand name. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Brett White, former CEO of CBRE, will lead  Cushman & Wakefield Inc. following its merger with DTZ.

Brett White, DTZ

A major move has been widely expected for Cushman & Wakefield  well before this morning’s announcement. As reported in the April issue of CPE, the firm’s majority owners, the Agnelli family and its investment arm, Exor SpA, were rumored to be considering taking the company public or selling it. “It’s probably a good time for them to sell,” Ken Weissenberg, partner & co-chair of the Real Estate Services Group told CPE in a prescient comment earlier this spring. “The market hasn’t been this hot for 10 years.”

It will also create new roles for several well-known industry figures. Brett White, the former CEO of CBRE Group Inc., will take on the role of chairman & CEO of the combined company. “While breadth and depth are important to serve clients, it’s not just about size,” White said in the statment. “It’s also about local expertise and deep customer service, which are strong traits of Cushman & Wakefield and DTZ, and ultimately what will differentiate us going forward.”

Other key executives in the combined team will include Tod Lickerman, current Global CEO of DTZ, who will serve as president of the global company; John Santora, current CEO of Cushman & Wakefield’s North American operations, will become COO and chief integration officer. Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano, current International CEO of Cushman & Wakefield and EMEA CEO, will take a senior global leadership role.

This morning’s announcement follows by only a few months the completion of another blockbuster deal involving DTZ. Last Dec. 31, DTZ wrapped up the acquisition of Cassidy Turley. DTZ, in turn, had just been acquired by a joint venture of TPG Capital, PAC Asia Capital and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Stay tuned to CPE for more details about this developing story.