Wells Fargo in talks to sell real estate unit Eastdil to Temasek, Guggenheim: WSJ

The sign outside the Wells Fargo & Co. bank in downtown Denver April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Singapore’s Temasek and US-based asset management group Guggenheim Investment are said to be in talks to buy Eastdil Secured, the real-estate brokerage and investment bank owned by Wells Fargo & Co, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The price of the purchase was not identified, and there is still a chance an agreement will not be reached, the WSJ report said. Wells Fargo acquired Eastdil in 1999 for $150 million, according to M&A data portal Mergr. The real estate brokerage firm was then merged with Secured Capital in 2006.

The management team at Eastdil will continue to own part of the firm’s shares.

The deal, if completed, will mark Temasek’s first direct investment in a US-based real estate brokerage. Meanwhile, Eastdil will be exposed to expansion opportunities in Asia, a market where its major competitors like CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield have set up significant footprint.

Eastdil would also face fewer regulatory restrictions if it is no longer part of a US bank, the report said.

For Wells Fargo, it was said to be a consistent move with the bank’s strategy of divesting from non-core businesses.

Guggenheim, the $200-billion AUM investment firm, would be a financial investor in Eastdil rather than integrating the business into its operations, the WSJ report noted, cited its sources.

As Wells Fargo explored the sale of the real estate investment bank unit, in February, CBRE poached Doug Middleton from Eastdil to become its vice president for the New York City market.

Eastdil had earlier lost its senior team to competitors including Cushman & Wakefield and Newmark.

WSJ said, Eastdil has held a leading position in major markets like New York and Los Angeles, and has dominated larger commercial real estate sales in Manhattan and other major markets for years.

However, the firm has lost some ground to competitors recently, including in the crucial New York City market where Cushman & Wakefield surpassed it to be the number one player in office property sales last year with $6.5 billion, while Eastdil had $3.8 billion, WSJ cited a Real Estate Alert newsletter.

Also read:

CapitaLand, Ascendas-Singbridge ink $8b deal to create Asia’s largest real estate group

Baring PE Asia closes second real estate fund at $1b

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.