Wells Fargo mulls sale of Eastdil Secured

Bank is shedding non-core assets

Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan and Eastdil Secured CEO Roy March (Credit: Economic Club)
Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan and Eastdil Secured CEO Roy March (Credit: Economic Club)

Wells Fargo is considering selling Eastdil Secured as the bank disposes of its non-core businesses.

The San Francisco-based financial institution has been gauging interest for the commercial real estate brokerage from private equity firms, the Wall Street Journal reported. It wasn’t clear what price Eastdil might fetch.

Wells Fargo bought the company for an undisclosed amount in 1999. However, banks are not technically supposed to own brokerages, which might preclude other banks from buying Eastdil.

Over the past 18 months, Wells Fargo has been slimming down as it looks to unload businesses “with low returns or high investment needs.” Officials at the bank don’t consider Eastdil as part of Well Fargo’s core, and have been weighing the possibility of a sale for a few months, people familiar with the company’s discussions told the Journal.

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Eastdil, which was founded in 1967 and is headed by industry veteran Roy March, is up for sale at a time when companies like CBRE and JLL are seeing their stocks trade at near-record highs.

Newmark Knight Frank went public last year, and Cushman & Wakefield is gearing up for an initial public offering. China Vanke just agreed to buy a 5 percent stake in Cushman.

And Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec just invested $250 million in Avison Young.

Eastdil, meanwhile, has seen some of its top talent walk out the door. In late 2016, the star investment-sales team led by Doug Harmon and Adam Spies left for Cushman. And in May, the Eastdil hotel-sales team led by Larry Wolfe departed for Newmark. [WSJ] – Rich Bockmann