Gowling WLG advises Avison Young on acquisition of GVA

04 February 2019

Gowling WLG has advised Avison Young, the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, on its acquisition of GVA.

Avison Young's acquisition of one of the UK's leading and most diverse real estate advisory-led businesses from Apleona Group GmbH (“Apleona”), a portfolio company owned by global private-equity firm EQT, completed on Thursday, 31 January 2019.

Effective immediately, the two companies will combine under one unified brand: Avison Young.

The acquisition establishes Avison Young as the only privately held, Principal-led, global, full service commercial real estate services firm. The combination also establishes Avison Young among the top five commercial real estate advisory businesses in the UK.

Gowling WLG corporate partner Chris Towle and associate Rachel Mobberley led a cross firm team on the transaction. Chris said: "Avison Young's acquisition of GVA is one of the most high profile corporate transactions in the real estate sector in the last 12 months and we're delighted to have supported the firm on a major milestone in its global growth plans and indeed its history.

"A cross-firm team worked extremely hard alongside Avison Young's in-house team of Robert Slaughter (CLO), Elissa Port, Michael Eurich and Nicole White to complete the transaction against a tight timescale and the acquisition firmly establishes Avison Young's UK business among the top commercial real estate advisors in Britain."

As a result of the transaction, Avison Young now has approximately 5,000 real estate professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries. Avison Young adds offices in: the United Kingdom (London, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Maidenhead, Manchester, Newcastle); Austria (Vienna); Bulgaria (Sofia); China (Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai); Croatia (Zagreb); France (Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Paris); Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki); Italy (Milan, Rome); Norway (Oslo); Poland (Warsaw); Republic of Ireland (Dublin); Romania (Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara); Russia (Moscow); Spain (Madrid); and United Arab Emirates (Dubai).

Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO 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.

'Furthermore, the acquisition establishes Avison Young as the global, disruptive challenger brand. We are now 5,000 strong, having nearly doubled our size and ability to provide clients with whatever they need, wherever in the world they need it.

"In GVA, Avison Young has added a like-minded UK real estate leader - a company that brings a partnership culture formed during more than 200 years in business.

'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.'

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

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