JLL’s Newest Family Member

JLL's newest acquisition boosts its already noteworthy capital markets capabilities.

JLL continued adding to its service lines and boosting its full-service capital markets capability in the Americas with the acquisition of St. Paul, Minn.-based Oak Grove Commercial Mortgage L.L.C., known as one of the nation’s leading providers of debt financing for multi-family and seniors housing.

Greg O'Brien, CEO of the Americas, JLL

Greg O’Brien, CEO of the Americas, JLL

The firm, which has 120 employees nationwide who will all join JLL, operates as Oak Grove Capital. Terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Together, JLL and Oak Grove have more than $4 billion in annual originations and $14 billion in loan servicing. JLL said in a prepared statement that Oak Grove will bring greater full-service mortgage lending and mortgage banking capabilities to JLL, noting that its Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD/Ginne Mae expertise will expand JLL’s offerings and complement its multi-family sales and equity services.

“The multi-family sales and financing market represents a substantive portion of all capital markets activity in the United States. To provide our clients the best-in-class expertise they’ve come to expect from JLL, we’re broadening our capabilities in this important space,” Greg O’Brien, CEO for the Americas for JLL, said in the prepared statement. “Oak Grove has built a superior reputation and is widely recognized as a leader in credit analysis, underwriting and risk management, as well as asset management and loan servicing. Its complementary culture and deep client relationships will blend seamlessly as we partner together to create a focused approach in the multi-family sector.”

David Williams, CEO, Oak Grove Capital

David Williams, CEO, Oak Grove Capital

Oak Grove is led by CEO David Williams, President Kevin Filter, Chief Production Officer Brian Kelleher and COO Brian Ranallo. Information on whether they would retain those titles when the acquisition is complete was not available.

Williams pointed to Oak Grove’s deep and longstanding relationships with all of the multi-family finance agencies. “Joining JLL’s broader platform will allow us to bring those affiliations to the next level while retaining the entrepreneurial spirit and hands-on execution our clients have long appreciated,” he stated. “JLL has grown its mortgage production team significantly over the last five years, and we intend to contribute further to that momentum as we work together to better serve the needs of our collective clients in the apartment and seniors housing sectors.”

In 2014, JLL Capital Markets, comprised of more than 1,700 specialists, completed $118 billion in investment sales and debt and equity transactions globally. JLL President & CEO Colin Dyer noted in the July 29 second-quarter earnings report and subsequent conference call with analysts that JLL Capital Markets was having a very strong year, with fee revenue growth in the Americas alone up 30 percent in second quarter 2015 compared to second quarter 2014.

While the Oak Grove acquisition was not included in the second-quarter earnings report, Dyer highlighted JLL’s M&A activities for the first half of 2015, with at least 10 acquisitions as of July 27. The company has made 70, both large and small, since 2005. Some of those include the purchase earlier this month of Shelter Bay Retail Group, a retail property management firm in Mill Valley, Calif. Last month, JLL added LodgeTax, a hotel real estate tax and consulting firm in Tampa.

“We acquire companies selectively with comprehensive due diligence. We evaluate finances for operating risk and strategic and cultural and client fit and maintain our pricing discipline. We focus on high-profit, high-margin opportunities, and we aim to minimize operational overlap that can destroy value. We plan carefully for integration, and we are skilled and confident acquirers,” Dyer said during the conference call, a transcription of which was provided by Thomson Reuters StreetEvents on Yahoo.com.

Dyer pointed to the success of the capital markets team at JLL. “As we said, with 30 percent-plus growth rates in our capital markets business, we’ve been investing in teams and acquisitions to build that part of our U.S. service portfolio,” Dyer told the analysts. “So we believe we’re in good shape, and we’re growing strongly.”