Cushman & Wakefield May Raise $1B With IPO

The firm believes its menu of integrated services positions it for future growth in the commercial real estate market.
Matthew HellerJune 21, 2018

Cushman & Wakefield has filed papers for a long-rumored initial public offering, citing opportunities for further growth in the commercial real estate market.

In a preliminary prospectus, the 100-year-old firm said trends like globalization and changes in workplace strategy “are driving occupiers to seek third-party real estate services providers as an effective means to reduce costs, improve their operating efficiency and maximize productivity.”

“Large corporations generally only outsource to global firms with fully developed platforms that can provide all the commercial real estate services needed,” Cushman added. “Today, only three firms, including Cushman & Wakefield, meet those requirements.”

Cushman’s services include property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, and valuation and other services. Its two direct competitors are CBRE Group and Jones Lang LaSalle, both of which are already public.

According to research cited in the prospectus, the global commercial real estate industry is expected to grow at approximately 5% per year to more than $4 trillion in 2022 and the market for global integrated facilities management is expected to grow at approximately 6% per year from 2016 to 2025.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, “The commercial property brokerage business has been strong in recent years thanks to economic growth in many parts of the world that’s fueled demand for office, retail and industrial space. Sales activity also has been high as investors have sought assets with higher yields than bonds and less volatility than stocks.”

In 2017, Cushman’s revenue rose to $6.9 billion from $6.2 billion, with fee revenues increasing to $5.3 billion from $4.8 billion. It has about 400 offices in 70 countries, according to its prospectus.

An investment group led by private-equity firm TPG purchased the firm and several other commercial real estate businesses in 2014 and 2015 for more than $3.5 billion. “The group’s plan has been to build a global giant that would compete with CBRE Group,” the WSJ said.

The publication reported that Cushman could seek to raise about $1 billion in the IPO and seek a valuation in excess of $5 billion.