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Cushman & Wakefield interviewing advisers for IPO

New York

TPG-BACKED Cushman & Wakefield is interviewing advisers to help take the company public, according to people familiar with the matter.

The century-old real estate brokerage giant could have an initial public offering (IPO) as soon as this year, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The company began holding informal meetings with banks last year about a listing, with any decision on moving ahead to be based both on the company's performance and market conditions.

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Since Bloomberg first reported the talks, Cushman & Wakefield's closest publicly traded peers, CBRE Group and Jones Lang LaSalle, have climbed 57 per cent and 76 per cent respectively.

That has influenced the decision to consider listing this year, although final plans have yet to be set, the people said.

Representatives for TPG, a private equity firm based in Fort Worth, Texas, and Cushman & Wakefield declined to comment.

There was a two-year hiatus in IPOs for real estate services, management and operations firms in the US after Community Healthcare Trust Inc went public in May 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Beginning in May 2017, six companies listed to raise US$2.5 billion.

Cushman & Wakefield was acquired by a group of investors led by TPG in May 2015 from Italy's Exor SpA, which is controlled by the Agnelli family, for about US$2 billion including debt.

TPG has since combined the company with its Asia-focused DTZ unit to create the world's third-largest real estate brokerage.

Led by chief executive officer Brett White, the firm has been expanding, including hiring Doug Harmon, the broker behind some of New York's most high-profile commercial-property deals.

Cushman & Wakefield has changed hands several times since 1917, when it was incorporated in New York. Previous owners have included media conglomerate RCA Corp and the Rockefeller Group.

Cushman & Wakefield's roster of global clients includes Rolls-Royce Holdings, according to the company's official website. BLOOMBERG