Commercial Brokerage Merger to Form Multifamily Giant

March 20, 2019

Investment management company Jones Lang LaSalle has announced it will acquire commercial services firm HFF Inc. in a $2 billion deal that will create one of the largest multifamily real estate companies in the country. JLL will acquire all outstanding shares of HFF in a cash and stock transaction. JLL and HFF are two of the most prominent commercial real estate brokerages in the nation and are consistently ranked among the top 10 lenders in the multifamily real estate sector.

Red and green rope knotted together

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Since 1998, HFF has closed more than 27,000 transactions worth a total of $800 billion. In 2017 alone, JLL closed $252 billion in volume; HFF closed $34 billion that year. JLL says the acquisition will help the firm boost its U.S. capital markets presence, accelerate growth in its debt advisory business in Europe and Asia Pacific, and drive increased operating efficiency globally. “Increasing the scale of our capital markets business is one of the key priorities in our strategic vision to drive long-term sustainable and profitable growth,” says JLL Global CEO Christian Ulbrich. “The combination with HFF provides a unique opportunity to accelerate growth and establish JLL as a leading capital markets intermediary.”

JLL says the two companies can operate more efficiently together and projects “cost synergies” of $20 million in the first 12 months after the acquisition. Savings will be achieved by consolidating offices and company expenses, JLL says. HFF CEO Mark Gibson will serve as JLL’s CEO of capital markets in the Americas and co-chair of its Global Capital Markets Board. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019.

JLL has made several big purchases over the past decade, including real estate firm Staubach in 2008 and King Sturge, a London-based brokerage, in 2011.

JLL and “JLL to Buy Brokerage HFF in $2 Billion Deal,” Crain’s Chicago Business (March 19, 2019)