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Jones Lang LaSalle to acquire HFF for $2bn in multifamily sector merger

By Mike Wheatley | March 21, 2019

Investment management firm Jones Lang LaSalle is targeting a bigger share of the multifamily real estate business after announcing plans to acquire commercial services provider HFF Inc. in a $2 billion deal.

The proposed deal would see Jones Lang LaSalle snatch up all of HFF’s outstanding shares in a cash plus stock transaction.

Jones Lang LaSalle and HFF are two of the largest commercial real estate brokerages in the U.S., and are consistently ranked among the top lenders in the multifamily sector.

HFF has closed on more than 27,000 real estate transactions worth some $800 billion since 1998. Meanwhile, Jones Lang LaSalle closed on transactions worth $252 billion in sales volume in 2017 alone. HFF’s transactions amounted to $34 billion last year.

Jones Lang LaSalle officials said the deal would help to boost the firm’s presence in U.S. capital markets, grow its debt advisory business in Asia Pacific and Europe, and help to improve operating efficiencies across its global businesses.

“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,” said Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global CEO Christian Ulbrich. “The combination with HFF provides a unique opportunity to accelerate growth and establish JLL as a leading capital markets intermediary.”

Jones Lang LaSalle said it predicts “cost synergies” of $20 million within the first 12 months of the acquisition closing. Those savings will be made by consolidating offices and company expenses, officials said.

HFF’s CEO Mark Gibson will become the chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle’s capital markets business in the Americas, and also co-chairman of its board of directors.

The companies said the acquisition should close by 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.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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