Property firm buys rival to ‘deepen mutual strengths’

COMMERCIAL property firm Jones Lang LaSalle is to buy rival King Sturge in a £197m deal.

The deal between the two companies, which both have offices in Leeds, is expected to be completed on Tuesday and will see all 43 King Sturge offices operate under the Jones Lang LaSalle brand.

Jones Lang LaSalle will pay £98m in cash now and settle the balance over the next five years.

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Jeff Pearey, head of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Leeds office told the Yorkshire Post it was too soon to say what effect the deal would have on the 120 staff who work across the two offices in Leeds.

He added that the head of the enlarged operation in Leeds would be announced shortly and that the integration of the two offices would also be looked at. “We want to integrate the business within a sensible time frame as soon as we can,” he said.

“We want to grow the capabilities of both businesses. We need to look at the new structure of the business and there may need to be roles that need to be looked at because of duplication.”

Colin Fell, partner in charge of King Sturge, Leeds, added: “It is phenomenally impressive how little duplication there is in the roles between the two offices.”

Jones Lang La Salle said the merger would “deepen mutual strengths and existing leadership positions and bolster overall service delivery capabilities”.

Andrew Gould will become chief executive of the UK business. Richard Batten will assume the role of UK executive chairman.

Mr Pearey said: “This merger is very exciting and positive news for our clients and our business in Leeds. Bringing our two firms together is a highly complementary strategic and cultural fit.”

Mr Fell added: “The combined business has substantially increased its strength and potency not only in Leeds, but in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester while Jones Lang LaSalle gains new offices in Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Liverpool, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Southampton and Plymouth. These locations, along with London, create a powerful new combined UK business.”

The merged business will operate in 30 countries employing 5,300 people providing real estate services worldwide to investor, owner and occupier clients. The UK business will have 2,700 employees.