Commercial real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis (NYSE: CBG) has bought the remaining shares of its Irish affiliate for $24.6 million in cash. The Dublin-based affiliate, CB Richard Ellis Gunne, employs 105 professionals in Dublin and Belfast. CBRE previously owned 10% of the firm.
"Taking full ownership of CB Richard Ellis Gunne fits well with our growth strategy in Europe," says Brett White, president and CEO of CB Richard Ellis. "Ireland has assumed a significant role in the global economy. The Gunne operation represents a solid foundation from which we expect to continue capturing a significant share of the commercial real estate activity that is emanating from that country, fueled by its strong economy."
Ireland represents one of Europe's most vital commercial real estate markets — it also has some of Europe's most active property investors. According to CB Richard Ellis Gunne research, Irish investors bought nearly $6 billion of property in the 15 European Union countries last year.
The buy-out comes as fresh rumors are circulating about a CB Richard Ellis-Trammell Crow merger. Earlier this month, U.K-based real estate journal Property Week reported that CBRE is considering a $1 billion merger with Trammell Crow (NYSE: TCC). An Atlanta-based Trammell Crow executive said only that the potential merger has been discussed for years but never consummated.
A merger between the firms would only make CBRE — which is already the world's largest real estate brokerage in terms of revenue — that much bigger. Trammell Crow has a market capitalization of $866 million and 6,500 employees worldwide. By comparison, Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis has a market capitalization of $3.4 billion and 13,500 employees worldwide.