HFF Goes International

The London operation marks the company’s first office outside of the United States.
Michael Kavanau
Michael Kavanau

Dallas and London—HFF Inc. has expanded into the United Kingdom, having just completed its acquisition of Leon Partners Ltd., of London, an independent CRE advisory firm that specializes in investment banking and corporate finance, HFF announced late last week. The London operation is the company’s first office outside of the United States and its 24th overall.

The closing completes a transaction that was first announced in early November.

The London office’s corporate finance and investment banking business will be headed by David Church and Raj Somchand, founding members of Leon Partners. The two men have a collective 50 years of experience in the business, recently with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

In addition, Michael Kavanau, 30-year veteran of HFF, senior managing director and former co-head of the Chicago office, has relocated to London, where he will head up equity and debt placement.

In the second quarter, Jamie Pope will join the firm to co-head the London office alongside Kavanau and Church, in addition to leading the investment platform. Mr. Pope was most recently managing director of CBRE’s Central London Investment division and has more than 20 years of experience.

Pope will be joined by a CBRE colleague, John Starkie, who will also specialize in the acquisition, disposal and strategic consultancy of commercial property within the Central London market.

Edward Bradford, formerly of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Aidan Smith, former CFO of Liberty International, are among the Leon Partners team who are now joining HFF.

Church and Somchand established Leon Partners in July 2015. The company advises clients on complex real estate and corporate M&A transactions, provides introductions to private capital investors, and prepares companies to access the public capital markets, primarily in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Image courtesy of HFF