Fortune 500 co CBRE acquires 49% in WTW for undisclosed amount

CBRE and WTW forming a JV.

New York Stock Exchange-listed real estate services provider CBRE Group, Inc has acquired a 49 per cent stake in Malaysia-based WTW, forming a joint venture (JV) to enhance both companies’ services to their existing clients.

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

Both parties have entered into an agreement in which CBRE bought significant interest in WTW’s operating companies in Peninsular Malaysia – C H Williams Talhar & Wong Sdn Bhd, WTW Real Estate Sdn Bhd and WTW Property Services Sdn Bhd.

The business will be rebranded as CBRE | WTW and be led by current leaders at WTW, Foo Gee Jen and Danny SK Yeo.

The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2016. Within Southeast Asia, CBRE typically wholly-owns its businesses, making this JV the first and only such for the group in this region.

With the JV in place, both CBRE and WTW will leverage each other’s expertise in the local and foreign markets. The JV is expected to increase foreign investments into Malaysia, as well as attract more corporate clients.

CBRE is a Fortune 500 company, with revenues of $10.9 billion in 2015, and over 70,000 employees.

CBRE Asia Pacific chief executive officer Steve Swerdlow commented that WTW will remain in the driver’s seat in the Malaysia-based JV.

“WTW has built a deep and solid reputation with its clients and valued stakeholders as a trusted and reliable real estate services firm. CBRE will benefit from the ability to tap into those valued relationships and connections to enhance its service delivery in this key market,” he said.

Foo, who is WTW managing director, said the strategic partnership will enable WTW to help its clients expand their activities beyond Malaysia, providing them with more options through a diverse means of expertise beyond the traditional offerings.

“Conversely we can be a party to help bring greater meaningful inbound investments into the Malaysian market via the CBRE global network. We are committed to be a part of the growth story of Malaysia. The CBRE | WTW Malaysia JV will form a powerful conduit for both the clients of WTW and CBRE; combining WTW’s strong local expertise with the CBRE global network, we hope to help clients achieve their investment goals more efficiently, effectively and successfully, be it out-bound or in-bound investments,” he said.

In his speech at the announcement of the JV, Ministry of Finance deputy minister Chua Tee Yong said he hoped the entry of CBRE to the Malaysia market via the JV will open up an opportunity for larger flow of foreign direct investments in the real estate and other related industries namely services, manufacturing, tourism and more.

“CBRE will bring with them the CBRE global platform providing full service offering with footprints in all the major regions of the world, a one stop real estate solution, from acquisition, value enhancement, advisory, capital raising, asset value maintenance to disposal,” he said.

Through this, he added, WTW will be able to profile Malaysia in line with Malaysia’s Third Industrial Master Plan (2006 – 2020), in which business and professional services has been identified as one of eight non-government services sub sectors for greater development and promotion by encouraging multinational corporations (MNCs) to establish and expand operations in Malaysia and integrating Malaysian companies into regional and global networks.

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