RT: How important was the retail component of Trammell Crow to the deal?
Anthony Buono: I think it was very important. Trammell Crow provides us some new blood in our culture. There are some senior level people we expect to join us. The retail people have very good transaction management skills for corporate retailers. Clients want to buy us because we provide proper coverage.
RT: What is the strength of each company?
Buono: We do a good job regionally. Trammell Crow does a better job than us handling national multimarket accounts. For example, handling all of a corporate clients' acquisition business throughout the U.S. We can learn from that. It helps us get better.
RT: How will you leverage their strength within your retail operations?
Buono: For example, Texas is a major retail market in the U.S. Our overall share in Texas is No. 1 or No. 2. We want to be better. The Crow merger does that for us. Dallas post-merger we will have 20 people, whereas we have 10 now. Literally, we'll double our staff. That's a good thing. While they may not have as many brokers as we do nationally, they do have some senior people; and that will help us.
RT: How much growth is expected to result from the acquisition?
Buono: We're going to see our managed retail portfolio increase by 20 percent. Nine million square feet of new retail properties will come in. We're at 45 million square feet today.
RT: What is your goal?
Buono: Our goal is to have the best retail business within the Americas. Overall, we are three times larger than our closest competitor (Cushman & Wakefield). However, our share of the retail market is small. All we want is our fair share. The goal is to double our current share of business within three years. The Trammell Crow merger will help us.
RT: What portion of Trammell Crow's retail business don't you want?
Buono: There's nothing on the retail side that we don't want.
RT: How will you rationalize the absorption of all Trammell's people on the retail side?
Buono: In this case, one plus one doesn't equal two, it equals three or four. While we will grow the number of people by 10 percent, that 10 percent will make us better by much more than that. Our retail business will do better than 10 percent.
RT: What is your challenge?
Buono: As with any merger, to make sure the integration is done properly. We have two cultures coming together. On one side, it is to help Trammell Crow adopt our best practices. On the CBRE side, to make sure that we adopt all of their best practices. You can't come to the party with the attitude that one group's way of doing something is better than the other's.
RT: How do you envision the organization in 2010?
Buono: I would like nothing better than to be the best third-party retail company in the world for retailers and landlords alike.
RT: Where are you now?
Buono: I would consider us very good.
Executive Managing Director of Retail Services, CB Richard Ellis