King Sturge is gobbled up by global property giant

by Gary Whittaker

King Sturge, one of the largest firms of surveyors in the UK, has been bought by the global giant Jones Lang LaSalle for £197m, making millionaires of its 86 partners.

Of this sum, £98m has been paid in cash, with the remainder to be paid over the next five years.

The deal, agreed in the early hours of last Friday and due to be formally closed this week, means that King Sturge, which also operates residential sales and letting agency businesses, will forfeit its independence to become part of the largest property consultant in the country.

Richard Batten, joint senior partner at King Sturge, becomes executive chairman of the new enlarged group.

King Sturge, which was founded 250 years ago, is known chiefly for its commercial activities and employs around 730 chartered surveyors. However, it also runs nine residential offices, while its sales and lettings teams work in 24 offices across the UK.

The deal will make Jones Lang LaSalle the market leader across the UK and Europe. Listed on the New York stock exchange, it is already the world’s second largest publicly traded real-estate agent, behind CB Richard Ellis, which it has now pushed into second place in the UK.

Christian Ulbrich, JLL’s chief executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “The obvious strategic and cultural fit between Jones Lang LaSalle and King Sturge makes this a logical and very attractive proposition for both firms.

“It gives us a scale and depth of expertise that will make our client service delivery capabilities second to none in both the UK and continental Europe.”

Richard Batten, joint senior partner at King Sturge, said: “This is a coming together of two great companies who are culturally aligned, with fantastic business synergies, to create the best firm of property advisers in Europe.”

The rebranding of all 43 of King Sturge’s offices and businesses across Europe, including the 24 in Britain, will begin immediately. The deal will add a further ten offices in the UK, and the total headcount in Britain will be 2,700 employees.

The merged business will operate in 30 countries and employ 5,300 people.

The deal is unlikely to be the last of its kind as property companies look to consolidate in the wake of the global property industry turndown.

French property company Saint George Participations has been in talks to make a possible bid for DTZ Holdings, another commercial property firm with some residential business activity.

CB Richard Ellis bought the lion’s share of the real-estate investment management business of Dutch financial group ING in February.

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01-June-11General Lettings News