Avison Young completes acquisition of GVA

Avison Young completes acquisition of GVA
(L-R) Gerry Hughes, Jason Sibthorpe, Mark Rose, Andy Mottram

Global commercial real estate firm Avison Young has acquired UK-based GVA, for an undisclosed sum.

The two companies will combine under the brand – Avison Young – with the deal making it among the top five commercial real estate advisory businesses in the UK.

The merger means Canada-based Avison Young has increased its revenue to approximately C$1bn.

Real estate advisory business GVA provides a portfolio of national and international clients, including UK public institutions, multinational corporations, major space users, developers, owners, lenders and investors. The acquisition includes GVA Worldwide Ltd.

Mark E Rose, chair and chief executive of Avison Young, said: ‘This acquisition represents another milestone in our global expansion strategy, and the combination will better position Avison Young to serve our clients across the world.

‘The acquisition increases our scale and presence, expands our global talent pool and reach, and enhances the breadth and balance of our services. Most importantly, the combination increases the resources that we can invest in innovation to keep our clients ahead of the curve.’

Avison Young principal and UK managing director Jason Sibthorpe becomes principal and president, UK; GVA chief executive Gerry Hughes becomes principal and managing director, UK and managing director, global consultancy; and GVA chair Andy Mottram becomes principal and managing director, Europe.

Hughes said: ‘The opportunities for our combined platform are vast, and I see one of the biggest growth areas stemming from the increasing trend for clients to seek strategic multi-consultancy real estate advice, which demands market intelligence, expertise and connections. The ability to provide such advice on a global scale is extraordinary and I look forward to helping to deliver that potential.’

The acquisition and refinancing were funded through a combination of cash, financing from Credit Suisse, CIBC and BofA Merrill Lynch, and additional common equity, including participation by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

Credit Suisse and KPMG LLP acted as Avison Young’s financial advisors in the acquisition of GVA; and Gowling WLG, DLA Piper LLP and Stikeman Elliott LLP served as Avison Young’s legal advisors.

Over the past 10 years, Avison Young, which is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, has grown from 300 real estate professionals in 11 offices to approximately 5,000 in 120 offices in 20 countries.

In the UK alone, Avison Young will have 18 offices and 1,600 employees working with clients on the transaction and consultancy sides of the business.

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Deven Pamben has more than 15 years’ experience as a journalist, working on newspapers, trade magazines and online publications. A Criminology graduate, Deven worked for Hertfordshire Constabulary before becoming a journalist. He began his journalism career at a local newspaper in Hertfordshire before moving into trade magazines in permanent roles or as a freelancer. Titles he has reported and edited on include Law Society Gazette, Harpers Wine and Spirit, and Health Club Management. Deven has also written travel features for the Sunday People, and spent two years working in Beijing for the official press agency of the People’s Republic of China.