CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. announced the acquisition of Espansione Commerciale ("Espansione"), the market leader in shopping center leasing and property management in Italy. The acquisition extends CB Richard Ellis' international retail services capability and makes the Company the number one commercial property services provider in Italy, which is the fourth largest commercial property market in Europe.
Espansione was founded in 1986 by managing director, Mario Taccini. The company manages approximately 50 shopping centers across Italy and dominates the country's shopping center leasing and property management services sector with a 15% market share. Espansione has offices in Modena, Milan and Rome with approximately 110 employees, including 50 shopping center managers.
The acquisition increases CBRE's critical mass in Italy and adds valuable retail and property management expertise to its existing strength in valuation and investment services. Mike Strong, Chairman of CB Richard Ellis, EMEA, said: "This acquisition benefits our business at every level. It gives us the leadership position in a European market that is of strategic importance to our clients, ensures that our Italian business has a balanced mix of advisory and professional services offerings, and represents another vital step in our strategy to build the premier retail services capability across Europe."
CBRE's EMEA retail capability has grown significantly over the past three years, benefiting from both organic growth and several acquisitions. The Espansione acquisition is particularly important because it coincides with continuing high levels of cross-border institutional investor interest in Italian retail property. More than 25% of property transactions undertaken in Italy during 2007 involved retail property, with shopping centres comprising two-thirds of that activity. The growth in Italian shopping centers has been the highest in Europe over the past three years, with a current pipeline of 26.9 million ft