Cushman & Wakefield, the global property services firm, has put itself up for sale for £1.3 billion (€1.8 billion; $2 billion).
EXOR, the investment arm of the Agnelli family, owns 81 percent of Cushman and is said to have approved management’s hiring of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help look for a buyer.
“As is the normal course of business, both Cushman & Wakefield and EXOR continually seek ways to further enhance the businesses, create value and further accelerate their plans,” said the firm in an emailed statement. “There is currently no transaction to disclose, nor guarantee that such a review may result in any transaction involving Cushman & Wakefield.”
The Agnelli family paid £364.75m for an initial 67.5 percent stake in Cushman back in 2008 before gradually building that stake to 81 percent, the firm’s employees hold the remaining 19 percent.
Last year it sold its European property investment manager, Cushman & Wakefield Investors (CWI), to La Française, an affiliate of Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe, and its strategic partner, the private equity real estate firm Forum Partners.
A sale of Cushman & Wakefield would also follow on from last year’s $1.215 billion acquisition of property services business DTZ by a consortium of private equity bidders, including Texas-based firm TPG Capital, Hong Kong-based PAG Asia Capital and Canadian pension fund, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
The private equity consortium later merged DTSZ with its US property services counterpart Cassidy Turley. The deal effectively saw DTZ become the third largest property services firm in the world by revenue, taking that place from Cushman & Wakefield. The combination of its European and Asian activities with the American activities of Cassidy Turley created a business with revenues of more than $2.9 billion. That compared to CBRE, the world’s largest services firm with $8.7 billion of revenue, and Jones Lang LaSalle, the second largest with revenues of about $5 billion.