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JLL's Acquisition Of HFF Could Mean A Game Of Broker Musical Chairs

JLL headquarters, at 200 East Randolph St. in Downtown Chicago

JLL's acquisition of HFF is a big shake-up for the real estate services industry, and it could have wide-ranging ripple effects.

As HFF comes under new leadership, many of its brokerage teams could be targeted by competitors looking to lure talent, The Real Deal reports. The competition for well-connected brokers is always stiff, and when any sort of uncertainty is introduced into an organization, the outside offers start flying, former HFF broker Eric Anton told TRD.

One anonymous senior broker for HFF told TRD he has already received several offers from firms wondering where he stood with regards to the JLL takeover. Even when a company views its own sale as a positive, as RKF did when taken over by Newmark Group, some level of turnover is common.

As the second-biggest investment sales brokerage in the country, JLL might not be as concerned with talent retention as a smaller fish might be, but Wells Fargo-backed Eastdil Secured has seen a significant talent exodus in the past couple of years despite impressive market coverage. CBRE remains the biggest player in the space, and has a long track record of drawing talent from other established firms in even the best of times.

Though JLL is a larger firm than HFF, the latter was better known for debt and financing deals rather than leasing. That could make for JLL brokers in that vein wondering where they stand as layoffs could be a possibility, according to TRD.