IFIL invests $563 million to acquire 67.5% stake in Cushman & Wakefield (US)

IFIL Group (“IFIL”), the investment group of the Agnelli family, has signed an agreement pursuant to which it will acquire a 67.5% stake in Cushman & Wakefield for a total cash consideration of $563 million (€430 million).

Following the transaction IFIL will replace Rockefeller Group International, Inc., the global property development and investment firm, as controlling shareholder of Cushman & Wakefield. The transaction implies an enterprise value for Cushman & Wakefield of $975 million (€744 million), and values the equity capital of the world’s largest private real estate services company at $834 million (€637 million), after transaction costs. IFIL may acquire as much as a further 8.1% of the equity capital from Cushman & Wakefield management and employees who will retain up to 32.5% of the company’s equity at the close of the transaction.

The acquisition will be primarily financed with IFIL’s existing cash resources with no additional leverage assumed by Cushman & Wakefield at the time of the transaction, ensuring that it retains complete financial flexibility with respect to its future growth objectives. For IFIL, the investment represents a unique opportunity to acquire a majority position in what is widely regarded as the commercial real estate sector’s foremost brand. Cushman & Wakefield is led by one of the sector’s most experienced management teams and operates in a growing, fragmented and consolidating services sector that presents excellent prospects for growth, both organically and through acquisitions.

This transaction represents an important step in IFIL’s plans to continue diversifying its assets across a range of sectors, geographies and currencies.

The investment provides Cushman & Wakefield with a new long-term shareholder with a proven track record of supporting management teams of its portfolio companies as they define and implement successful growth and development plans. The transaction provides Cushman & Wakefield with continuity of both management and strategy. In particular, its Fast Forward strategy is focused on extending Cushman & Wakefield’s business in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region with the aim of generating 50% of its revenues from outside the United States by 2011, and on increasing its presence in the investment services sector.

Following the transaction, the Cushman & Wakefield Board of Directors will consist of Carlo Sant’Albano, Alessandro Potestá, Michael Bartolotta and Pierre Martinet from IFIL and Bruce Mosler, John Cushman and John Santora from Cushman & Wakefield.

The transaction requires regulatory approval and is expected to close around the end of January.

Announcing the investment, IFIL Vice Chairman John Elkann said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce this partnership with Bruce Mosler and his team. Under his leadership, Cushman & Wakefield has successfully developed its business and brand and we’re excited at the prospect of partnering with this team for the company’s next growth phase. As a leader in a growing, global services sector, Cushman & Wakefield is precisely the kind of company we’ve been looking for as we continue diversifying our investments.”

Commenting on the investment, Bruce Mosler, Chief Executive Officer of Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Securing IFIL as our partner puts Cushman & Wakefield in a position to take advantage of a consolidating industry to push forward with our strategic growth plan. Our partnership with The Rockefeller Group has been instrumental in supporting our growth in recent years throughout North America, Europe and Asia. With the IFIL team, we found an immediate meeting of the minds and a shared vision for the future. IFIL’s knowledge of the regions and business areas we are targeting, its experience in the sector we serve and a transaction structure that assures Cushman & Wakefield of strong financial flexibility will put us in an even more powerful position to accelerate our plan for growth.”

Jonathan D. Green, President and Chief Executive

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