Cushman & Wakefield’s acquisition of 20 VIC Management puts the company in the asset services and property management business for the first time in Canada, says Chuck Scott, CEO of Cushman & Wakefield Canada.
“The asset services business is something that we in Cushman & Wakefield are in in most other geographies around the world, but until now haven’t been in it in Canada,” Scott says.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have them as part of the family,” he says of 20 VIC. “They’re one of the country’s preeminent providers of asset services and property management and are really, really good at what they do, with a great client base and a great group of employees.”
Cushman & Wakefield announced Aug. 15 it had acquired 20 VIC Management for an undisclosed price.
As a commercial real estate management firm, 20 VIC manages more than 21 million square feet of space across Canada for pension funds, private equity firms and high-net-worth investors. Its assets under management are worth $7 billion.
Almost doubles C & W’s Canadian workforce
20 VIC Management has about 700 employees and the acquisition will almost double Cushman & Wakefield’s Canadian workforce.
George Buckles and Randy Scharfe, the co-founders of 20 VIC, will join Cushman & Wakefield as executive managing directors, asset services.
“They’re doing it right and it was really important for us to ensure that that carried on,” Scott says.
In a statement, Buckles said he is “thrilled” 20 VIC is combining forces with Cushman & Wakefield.
“In making this decision, we knew the importance of maintaining our focus on our clients while adding the strength and resources of a trusted, global brand.”
Other top executives will remain and no changes are anticipated with 20 VIC’s workforce, Scott says.
“The interesting thing about this acquisition is that we weren’t in the business until now. It wasn’t a situation where we had to look at how to overlay this onto an existing infrastructure. This becomes our infrastructure so that provides a lot of opportunity for the staff that’s there.”
Property management needs changing
Scott says client needs are changing faster than ever and their decisions are becoming increasingly complex. Clients are looking for integrated real estate solution providers and the 20 VIC acquisition provides Cushman with more services to offer clients.
Scott initially met more than seven months ago with Buckles and Scharfe to share perspectives on the industry and get to know one another. “We immediately recognized that we shared the common values of putting the client first and just how important our employees are. Immediately we realized that we were on the same page.”
The expansion into asset services and property management is “very much a strategic acquisition for us,” he says. “It fills something nicely for us. It’s a significant scale development for us both in the area of expanded service and people.”
Scott says the 20 VIC name will continue to be used, at least in the short term.
“This is a great platform; they’re doing it right. We want to be really thoughtful about how we integrate them into our firm. That said, the Cushman & Wakefield brand is a powerful one.”
20 VIC’s Toronto head office at 1 Queen St. E. will remain but “it’s important to make sure we integrate the two cultures and that everybody understands that we are one family.”
Companies share many clients
The integration will be made a lot easier by the fact the companies share many of the same clients and have strong cultures of collaboration, he says.
Earlier this year, Cushman & Wakefield acquired Ashlar Urban Realty, which specialized in investment sales, office, retail and land development.
“We’re always interested in looking for opportunities that drive growth, that result in value for our clients.’
Scott notes there is an “interesting amount of consolidation” going on industry-wide and what clients are seeking in a service partner is changing constantly.
“The best partners, like Cushman & Wakefield, are always looking to expand their toolbox.”
Cushman & Wakefield also announced it is buying out its joint-venture partner to take full ownership of its branded operations in Minneapolis, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas from NorthMarq Cos., a private holding company owned by the Minneapolis-based Pohlad family.