NEWS FLASH - Cassidy & Pinkard Getting Big Outside Investment
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Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers is today announcing its first major outside investment, and it looks big. Two other firms that are part of Colliers International affiliation — Colliers Turley Martin Tucker of St. Louis, and Colliers Pinkard of Baltimore — have purchased a “non-controlling” interest in the company. Sources tell us it’s “less than 50%, but very substantial.”
CTMT, the lead investor, has offices throughout the Midwest, and 1,100 employees compared to Cassidy’s 160. Colliers Pinkard is a third generation Baltimore firm run by Wally Pinkard, brother of Cassidy CEO Bob Pinkard.
CTMT has been on a tear the last 12 years, aggressively expanding its presence to other Midwest cities such as Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Cincinnati, but this represents its first foothold outside its native region. The Cassidy deal is its effort to tap into a whole new set of clients and service areas for which Cassidy is known, such as investment sales, finance, and landlord representation, as well as the chance to put people on the ground in an exceptionally strong market who can send and receive new business.
What does Cassidy get from it? In an exclusive interview with Bisnow on Business, Zeke Dodson, Cassidy’s first employee 25 years ago and today one of six shareholders in the firm, tells us, “We found their skills sets very attractive and complementary in such areas as growing the company and managing multiple offices.” Cassidy has offices in Tysons, Rockville, and DC. “They have managerial experience we don't have,” Dodson says, citing their success at property management, corporate solutions construction management, and strategic planning, as well as an extensive international client base.
Dodson says the investment wasn’t planned or sought, but arose almost inadvertently in discussions through the Colliers organization, born at a meeting late in the summer when Cassidy hosted the Colliers Eastern Regional meeting here in DC, “They came to us, and it got serious quickly.” Cassidy COO John Fleury took the lead journeying repeatedly to St. Louis to meet with CTMT, and negotiating on home turf at the Lombardy Hotel in DC.
Cassidy joined the Colliers organization in March of this year after the previous Colliers in the market, Spaulding & Slye, was acquired byJones Lang and the affiliation became available. Wally Pinkard and CTMT President and CEO Mark Burkhart have long been active in the organization and teamed together through that environment rather than because of Wally’s relationship to Bob. Colliers, based in Boston, boasts 9000 affiliated employees in 241 offices throughout the world, one per city. Companies are independently owned but partner to brand Colliers, at the same time networking and sharing best practices, technologies, access to people, and referrals.
Cassidy, which has both reflected and helped stimulate the boom in the buying and selling of downtown buildings, competes increasingly against the likes of Holliday Fenoglio, Eastdil, CBRE, Cushman,Staubach, Trammell Crow, and others in a wide variety of commercial real estate services. At the outset, this gives them more heft in the battle. But does this suggest a potential exit strategy if the investors want to buy out the whole company later? Dodson says, “For years we’ve heard rumors of this or that big company about to buy us, and they’ve all been wrong. We’ve had plenty of opportunities to sell and go our merry way, but we haven’t. That’s because we like it the way we are. There's no second chapter that has been written here.”
Dodson also has a personal satisfaction with the outcome. He has continued a hugely active landlord and tenant representation even while he became increasingly involved in Cassidy management since co-founder Pat Cassidy became terminally ill seven years ago. With the investment closing, he will be completely out of management and back to brokerage full time. Losing no time, he and others are off to Chicago’s Fairmont Hotel tonight for the Colliers annual broker conference throughout the weekend.