Global firm agrees ‘transformational’ deal for property agency

Jason Sibthorpe, Principal and U.K. Managing Director, Avison Young; Gerry Hughes, CEO, GVA; Andreas Aschenbrenner, Partner at EQT Partners; Mark Rose, Chair and CEO, Avison Young

Property agency GVA has been bought by Avison Young in a “transformational” deal for the Canadian business.

The deal, which has been reported to be worth more than £250m, adds 1,500 people in 15, mostly UK, offices to Avison Young’s 2,700 people in 85 countries.

Mark E Rose, chief executive of Avison Young, said: “This is a transformational event that underpins our ambition and intent to significantly expand our footprint in Europe and beyond.

“Avison Young’s UK business will now be a genuine challenger brand firmly established among the top commercial real estate advisors in the UK, North America and the world.”

Avison Young currently has five UK offices, including Manchester and Coventry, but will grow to 19 offices and 1,600 employees in the UK alone. It lays claim to being the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm.

Canadian fund manager CDPQ invested C$250m (£145m) in July to accelerate Avison Young’s strategic growth plan.

Avison Young made its first move in August, buying Mayfair-based Wilkinson Williams in August, then opened its first Asian office last month in Seoul, South Korea.

The group was reported to be in a two-way battle to acquire GVA, coming out ahead of Cushman & Wakefield.

Avison Young’s UK managing director Jason Sibthorpe spent 14 years with Bilfinger GVA, the last four as a board member, before moving to Avison Young two years ago.

“We intend to continue to invest, and we see great opportunity for further growth in all areas, particularly in the transactional space,” he said.

The transaction, which comes four years after GVA was bought by Bilfinger, is expected to close during the first quarter of 2019.

Gerry Hughes, chief executive of GVA, added: “To say I am delighted by this deal is an understatement. We could not have asked for a better outcome for the GVA business, our clients and our staff.

“We now enter a new era as a key component of a global real estate advisory platform, which will allow us to further flourish and better serve global clients.”

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