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DTZ (SEA) management buys out Cushman's stake, relaunches Edmund Tie & Company

THE management of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) has bought out the majority stake of over 60 per cent held by Cushman & Wakefield and relaunched the firm with its original name, Edmund Tie & Company.

An agreement between shareholders of Edmund Tie & Company Holdings and Cushman & Wakefield was inked on Friday. Bound by contractual constraints, the value of the transaction was not disclosed.

With this management buyout sealed, an anticipated merger of DTZ (SEA) and Cushman, which could entail a stake sale to Cushman, is called off.

Real estate veteran Edmund Tie will continue to lead the new firm as chairman, with support from chief executive Ong Choon Fah who also heads the firm's research and consulting departments.

The new firm will offer the full spectrum of real estate agency and advisory services in South-east Asia, with its associate agency business DTZ Property Network renamed as Edmund Tie & Company Property Network.

Negotiations are also ongoing with several major international real estate services firms to give Edmund Tie & Company a global reach.

Edmund Tie & Company currently has operations in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The firm has 13 shareholders and 29 management executives.

"The strategic decision to once again operate under the Edmund Tie & Company brand is motivated by our longstanding commitment to form a firm driven by a distinctly Asian business philosophy, yet offering international standards of expertise," Mr Tie said.

The firm's origins date back to 1995 when Edmund Tie & Company was formed by Mr Tie and his senior management executives.

In 1999, the firm joined forces with Hong Kong-based C Y Leung & Company and Europe-based DTZ Debenham Thorpe, thus becoming part of the global DTZ network of companies. It operated as DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA), with operations in Singapore and South-east Asia.

But things again started to change when DTZ was acquired by UGL in 2011 and in 2014, sold to a consortium led by TPG Capital. Last year, the TPG consortium merged two other firms it acquired with DTZ - namely US commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley and Cushman & Wakefield.

Edmund Tie & Company has around 500 employees, of which about 300 are based in Singapore. In addition, there are close to 1,400 salespersons under the firm's associate agency division led by Margaret Thean, who also heads the residential division.

Ms Ong said: "The outcome we are striving for is in creating real value for our clients and all stakeholders. Notwithstanding the slowing economy and a muted property market, foundations are already being laid for an eventual upswing."

Following the sale, Cushman & Wakefield will continue its Singapore operations under the leadership of its managing director Stephen Saul.

"The sale will bring our operations in Singapore in line with the rest of the Asia-Pacific business and under the leadership of Stephen Saul. Cushman & Wakefield will accelerate its service offerings to developers, investors and corporates, adapting to the continually evolving Singapore market," said Stuart Roberts, Cushman & Wakefield chief executive officer for Asia Pacific.