Cordea Savills to buy SEB for €21.5m

The London-based firm is set to acquire the real estate investment subsidiary of Scandinavian bank SEB Group and be re-branded to Savills Investment Management.

Cordea Savills, the real estate investment management business of property services firm Savills, is on the cusp of buying Europe and Asia-focused real estate investment manager SEB Asset Management for up to €21.5 million in cash.

SEB Asset management is the real estate investment subsidiary of the SEK2.4 trillion (€276 billion; $369 billion) Scandinavian bank SEB Group.

Founded 25 years ago and headquartered in Frankfurt, SEB Asset Management comprises approximately 148 staff based in Frankfurt and Singapore. The firm manages about €10 billion of real estate assets under management (AUM) globally within a variety of fund structures.

Approximately 40 percent of the SEB Asset Management AUM represents institutional funds with the remainder being assets of a number of German Open Ended funds which are in the process of formal liquidation. With the change in ownership, this liquidation process will be supported by Cordea Savills’ local offices as well as the broader Savills Group.

Alongside the transaction, Cordea Savills and SEB Group will enter into a co-operation agreement to provide real estate services to clients of SEB Group. The transaction will also see Cordea Savills rebranded as Savills Investment Management, but Cordea Savills will continue to retain full operational independence from Savills.

Barbara Knoflach, the chief executive of SEB Asset Management, has left the company to join BNP Paribas Real Estate as global head of investment management.

“The proposed acquisition of SEB Asset Management complements our strong organic growth and provides an opportunity to create a leading investment manager in Europe and Asia,” Justin O’Connor, chief executive of Cordea Savills, commented. “SEB Asset Management will add to our critical mass and enhance our ability to offer investment opportunities to clients globally.”

The acquisition is subject to certain closing conditions including regulatory approval from German securities watchdog BaFin and the expiry of the German and Polish merger control authorities’ review periods.

Cordea Savills is an international property investment manager with offices in London, Milan, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Luxembourg, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. As at 31 December 2014, the firm managed approximately €7.2 billion of assets.