WILLIAMS DROPS GVA; GRUBB BUILDS RETAIL
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|After four years of on-and-off negotiations, the ink is dry asFirstService Corporation completed its previously announced purchase of a 65% stake in the firm, rebranding as Williams Real Estate, a FirstService Company. We were at Williams' Madison Avenue offices last week to start practicing the new name.|
|Trying to look official (but you guys should look down to be sure you know what you're signing): Williamsexec chairman Bob Freedman,FirstService CEO Doug Frye (who moonlights as Colliers International's chairman), Williams CEO Mark Jaccom, and Williamsprez Michael Cohen. Scratching your head and asking, "Who is FirstService?" The fourth-largest commercial real estate services company in the world and the controlling interest in names likeColliers International, Cohen Financial, and PKF Hotel and Hospitality Consulting. Altogether, it's 186 company-owned offices in 36 countries, as well as more than $1B in annual revenue. They'll use Williams as their New York hub, which adds Connecticut andNew Jersey to the office roster. Under the new ownership structure, senior executives at Williams retain operational control and 35% of the firm's equity.|
|We missed the original deal-sealing handshake, but Mark, Doug and Bob offered up a historic reenactment. Now that he can relax, Mark was already spotted fly fishing in Montauk recently with other members of the 19-person ownership team, Alex Jinishian, Harry Blair and Mark Friedman. He reports a blitz of striped bass, blues, and false albacore (which we assume means Bumble Bee tuna claiming to be Starkist). He's now looking for some real good catches, so polish up your r?sum?s—the execs report FirstService wants to jump from fourth-largest to first in five years and hiring new talentwill be part of the expansion.|