DTZ creates ‘global leader’ after $2bn C&W acquisition

The private equity-backed global property services firm adopt Cushman & Wakefield’s branding as part of a merger which will create a $5.5 billion revenue producing company with more than 43,000 employees.

Property services business DTZ has acquired rival firm Cushman & Wakefield for just over $2 billion to create one of the largest global real estate services companies.

Operating under the Cushman & Wakefield brand, the new company will have revenues of more than $5.5 billion, over 43,000 employees and will manage more than 4 billion square feet globally on behalf of institutional, corporate and private clients.

“The companies have remarkably complementary skills and reach in different geographies – whether in New York, London or Shanghai, this will be a formidable combination,” said Brett White, who will assume the role of chairman and chief executive of the combined company. White was the former chief executive of CBRE Group, before joining DTZ as full-time executive chairman in 2014.

Other senior positions at the combined company will be taken by: Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano, current international and EMEA chief executive of Cushman & Wakefield, who take on a senior global leadership role; John Santora, current chief executive of North America at Cushman & Wakefield, who will become chief operating officer and chief integration officer; and Tod Lickerman, current global chief executive of DTZ, who will assume the role of president.

EXOR, the investment arm of the Agnelli family, which owned 81 percent of Cushman netted $1.27 billion, representing a capital gain of $722 million from the transaction. Back in 2008 EXOR paid £364.75m for an initial 67.5 percent stake in Cushman & Wakefield before gradually building that stake to 81 percent, the firm’s employees held the remaining 19 percent.

The acquisition by DTZ will see the firm challenge the two largest property services firms, CBRE with $8.7 billion of revenue, and Jones Lang LaSalle, the second largest with revenues of about $5 billion. DTZ was already sitting in third spot after its merger with its US property services counterpart Cassidy Turley last year.

The Cassidy Turley merger came not long after DTZ itself was acquired for $1.215 billion 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.

Speaking on behalf of the investors, Ben Gray, TPG's joint managing partner in Asia, said: “We have been delighted to be a part of one of the most exciting growth stories in this industry. Our ambitions for the new Cushman & Wakefield are great and we stand ready to assist this global leader to continue to grow and flourish through our relationships, energy and capital.”

The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year and is subject to customary closing conditions.