C&W’s Purchase of Massey Knakal–Consolidation Trend in Commercial Brokerage

Cushman & Wakefield put the capital markets industry on notice this week with the surprising acquisition of Massey Knakal Realty Services, for a reported $100 million.
Andrew Maguire

Andrew Maguire, McCausland Keen & Buckman

Cushman & Wakefield put the capital markets industry on notice this week with the surprising acquisition of Massey Knakal Realty Services, for a reported $100 million.

Sidney Burke and Alexandra Lauvaux with DLA Piper’ M&A practice, led the legal team that worked with Cushman & Wakefield’s Global General Counsel, Gene Boxer, and North America General Counsel, Rick Cenkus.

Cushman & Wakefield winning bid was reportedly attributed to the firm’s collaborative culture, “impeccable brand and highly ethical and talented professionals.” According to Ed Forst, Cushman & Wakefield’s president& CEO, the two companies’ “client only” beliefs that they share will have positive implications in New York and around the world.

That’s an opinion shared by many in the industry.

“C&W is a national brokerage representing commercial buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants, while Massey Knakal’s focus is owner representation (particularly landlord-side leasing and representing property sellers) in the Metro New York area,” Andrew Maguire, a senior real estate attorney with McCausland Keen & Buckman, told Commercial Property Executive. “It will be interesting to see how C&W integrates Massey Knakal’s specialized seller/landlord business model into its more broad-based platform.”

In Maguire’s opinion, with brokerage commissions pegged to purchase prices and the rental rates, respectively, it seems logical for C&W to strengthen its presence in the lucrative New York market.

“This deal is illustrative of an ongoing consolidation trend within the commercial brokerage world,” he said. “Notably, within the past year DTZ merged with Cassidy Turley, and London-based Savills plc. acquired U.S. tenant representation firm Studley.”

Leslie Himmel, co-managing partner with Himmel & Meringoff Properties, a real estate investment company dealing in New York commercial properties, told CPE that ever since C&W lost Richard Baxter and Ron Cohen (and their team) to JLL in 2010, the company’s been trying to reestablish its sales brokerage business.

“This gives them a bigger presence and makes them very competitive,” she said. “Bob and Paul are two of the most well-liked individuals in the industry and people are very happy to see such good guys make a good sale with a good fit and help them continue their careers.”

Founded by Paul Massey and Robert Knakal more than 25 years ago, Massey Knakal has dominated the New York City metropolitan area in midsized office, retail and apartment building sales for over a decade. The firm employs more than 200 who serve more than 200,000 property owners in New York City’s five boroughs, Westchester County, Long Island and New Jersey. In total, Massey Knakal closed north of 5,000 transactions, with a market value in excess of $21 billion.