Cushman & Wakefield could close IPO as early as Q3: report

But sources say an IPO would also mean layoffs in the lower echelons of the company

Jan.January 20, 2017 12:05 PM
From left: Brett White and John Cushman III

Looks like the stars are finally aligning for Cushman & Wakefield. The commercial brokerage has taken the first steps in seeking its long-rumored IPO after months of bulking up its teams in Los Angeles and New York with high-profile poaches.

The brokerage, under parent company TPG, has begun meeting with banks about a potential IPO to list as early as the third quarter of this year, sources told Bloomberg. Insiders — including Cushman’s own execs — have long speculated the probability of a public offering.

“The stars have to be aligned correctly when you do this,” John Cushman III, the company’s chairman of global transactions, told The Real Deal last March. “The economy has to be right. The real estate world has to be right.”

Cushman & Wakefield has yet to make formal listing plans, Bloomberg’s sources said, and the IPO could be delayed until 2018. When it happens, Cushman will be the first real estate firm to go public since Community Healthcare Trust did so in 2015.

The brokerage, under CEO Brett White, shook up the real estate world in November 2016 when it hired top dogs Doug Harmon and Adam Spies from Eastdil Secured. The successful wooing of New York’s most illustrious commercial brokers signaled its ambitions of industry dominance, experts told TRD.

The firm has also been bullish on the poaching front in L.A., hiring Mike Condon Sr. and Jr. away from JLL; Henry Johnson, Mike Scimo and Andrew Tashjian from CBRE; and Steve Algermissen from Colliers.

But an IPO won’t be all rainbows and butterflies for everyone at Cushman.

Layoffs will likely precede the IPO, a source told TRD, as the company attempts to clean up its books for the big move. Brokers recently hired in Cushman’s talent poachings are unlikely to be affected, but layoffs may hit employees who are not on the all-star list, the source said.

TPG boosted Cushman’s global cachet in 2015, when it merged with DTZ. Cushman is now the third largest real estate brokerage in the world. [Bloomberg]Cathaleen Chen

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