CBRE (formerly CB Richard Ellis Group) is all about location, location, location -- not to mention ubicación, l'emplacement, posizione, and Standort. One of the world's largest commercial real estate services companies, CBRE operates more than 300 offices in 60 countries. Services include property and facilities management, leasing, brokerage, valuation, asset management, financing, and market research. The company manages about 1.3 billion sq. ft. of commercial space for third-party owners and occupants. Subsidiary Trammell Crow provides property development services for corporate and institutional clients, primarily in the US. CBRE Global Investors manages real estate investments for institutional clients.
CBRE operates in five segments: the Americas; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); the Asia/Pacific region; global investment management (handled by CBRE Global Investors); and development services (handled by Trammell Crow). The Americas division, which includes the US, Canada, and Latin America, is its largest, accounting for more than 60% of all sales.
CBRE continues to expand its geographic reach and broaden its service offerings by making fill-in acquisitions in regional markets that complement or expand existing operations. The company's strategy is to be the leading firm in each of its major business lines.
After several years of limiting its investments due to the recession, CBRE in 2013 purchased property and asset management specialist SOGESMAINT-CBRE to build on its previous acquisitions in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Also in 2013 CBRE acquired commercial real estate services business Resource Estate Partners and TPA Realty Services, both based in Atlanta, where it's working to boost its market share. CBRE in 2011 made one of its largest deals in several years. The company bolstered its global real estate investment management business with the acquisition of ING Groep's real estate investment management operations for some $940 million. The Dutch firm's real estate investment management business in Asia and Europe was merged into CBRE Global Investors and more than doubled the size of the unit. The transaction also included US-based Clarion Real Estate Securities and interests in commercial real estate co-investments.
The ING deal helped boost CBRE's investment management revenue by more than 30% in 2011. Most of the company's other business lines also saw double-digit positive revenue growth. That, coupled with expense management, helped CBRE's overall revenues to increase by 15% in 2011. Trends that began in 2010 continued the following year. Commercial real estate markets stabilized. Vacancy rates decreased, rents stabilized or edged up, credit became more widely available, and property sales and leasing activity increased. As conditions improve the company expects acquisitions to once again drive growth.
Private equity firm Blum Capital Partners owns about 7% of CBRE. Blum is headed by Richard Blum, who is also the chairman of CBRE.