This week saw global commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle merge with international property consultancy King Sturge, creating the UK’s largest property adviser.
Under the terms of the transaction, which is thought to have closed On Tuesday, Jones Lang will pay consideration of £197 million to King Sturge’s partners with £98 million to be paid at completion and the rest of the balance over five years.
All 43 King Sturge offices and businesses across Europe, including 24 in the UK, will become part of Jones Lang LaSalle and will operate under the new brand. Integration of the business lines and teams, as well as the full rebranding of all business activities, will commence immediately. King Sturge’s operations are expected to be ‘fully integrated with Jones Lang’s by the end of the year.
Christian Ulbrich, Jones Lang LaSalle Chief Executive Officer for EMEA, said: “The obvious strategic and cultural fit between Jones Lang LaSalle and King Sturge makes this a logical and very attractive proposition for both firms. It gives us a scale and depth of expertise that will make our client service delivery capabilities second to none in both the UK and continental Europe.”
Richard Batten, Joint Senior Partner at King Sturge, added that this was ‘great news for all of King Sturge’s staff and clients’.
Yet whilst the augmented capabilities of the property giant may benefit both Jones Lang and its current clientele, the scale of the operation leaves other industry players fearing the emergence of a monopoly power in the market.
Stephen Johnson, New Business Director at Whiteaway Laidlaw Bank, said: “The transaction removes competition and choice from the market as these are both high end commercial property firms; clearly it makes sense for the businesses themselves and their partners, but from a lenders and brokers perspective it means one less option.”
Rob Lankey, Managing Director of Commercial Mortgages at Aldermore, added: “Further contraction of the market could be viewed as damaging from a competition point of view but this merger of two of the heavier hitters is likely to create a formidable player and I would view this as a positive move overall.”
This latest merger is part of an ongoing growth path for Jones Lang, who has expanded its global presence to 60 countries by acquiring 30 smaller brokerages since 2005. The acquisition will undoubtedly bolster the firm’s proportion of share revenue from Europe – which accounted for 25 per cent of income last year, the company said.
The transaction is also thought to be one of the fastest routes available to King Sturge for growth. According to Bloomberg, since Jones lang sold Shares in an initial public offering in 1997, it may easily raise money in the stock and debt markets to finance expansion, while King Sturge’s partnership structure makes expansion harder.