HFF Announces Launch of UK Operations

The opening of the London office will represent HFF’s 24th office location and the first outside of the U.S.

By IvyLee Rosario

DallasHFF Inc. has announced that it expects to launch its U.K. operations through the proposed acquisition of Leon Partners Ltd., a London-based independent real estate advisory firm focusing on investment banking and corporate finance.

HFF’s London office is expected to offer a full spectrum of commercial real estate capital markets transaction services in the U.K., including investment banking and corporate finance, investment transactions and debt and equity placement. The transaction is set to close in early 2017. The opening of the London office will represent HFF’s 24th office location and the first outside of the U.S.

David Church and Raj Somchand, founding members of Leon Partners, will be joining HFF along with four other associates. Bringing a collective 50 years of business experience, the two will lead the London office’s corporate finance and investment banking business.

HFF Dallas Office
HFF Dallas Office

“We are extremely excited to have David, Raj and members of the Leon team join HFF to help start, manage and grow HFF’s first business endeavor outside of the U.S.,” Mark Gibson, CEO of HFF, said in prepared remarks. “Leon’s culture of integrity, teamwork and its in-depth knowledge of all capital market solutions for commercial real estate is highly synergistic with HFF’s core values and competencies. HFF’s global clients have been encouraging HFF to enter the London and European markets and we are delighted to have found great chemistry and a complementary skill set in David, Raj and the Leon Partners team.”

Michael Kavanau, senior managing director & co-head of HFF’s Chicago office will be relocating to London, bringing along 30 years of experience with HFF in the U.S. to lead the London office’s equity and debt placement business.

“With Michael Kavanau’s relocation to London, HFF is sending one of its longest tenured partners to not only bring his vast skill set of the debt and equity placement businesses but to also help with the integration of the Leon team and other London-based capital market specialists into HFF’s collaborative, team-oriented culture,” said Gibson.

“We have got to know HFF over the last six months and have been very impressed with their platform, their approach to clients, each other, as well as their values, which strongly echo Leon’s,” added Somchand. “The opportunity to help build a truly market-leading, independent and conflict-free, best-in-class one stop real estate advisory and capital markets business is hugely compelling. The whole team is excited to become part of HFF and looking forward to working alongside our new partners.”

Image Courtesy of Yardi Matrix