KOLKATA: Global property consultant Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) has acquired the entire team of Lemongrass Advisors, a city-based real estate consultancy firm, for an undisclosed amount. The buyout, which comes close on the heels of C&W's acquisition of Singapore-based project management company Project Solution Group two months ago, is aligned with its global strategy to strengthen operations — both organically and inorganically — in the Asia Pacific.
"We are looking at more strategic and culturally fit buyouts or agreements with strong regional players, especially in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, to augment our reach and thereby increase market share," C&W South Asia Executive Managing Director Sanjay Dutt told the media in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The group expects to clinch the Bangladesh deal in 2014, and Sri Lanka before 2016, as per its 2012-17 five-year plan. "The aim is to be one of the 'most preferred' consultancy firms globally," Dutt said. C&W is the third-largest real estate consultancy firm globally, the first two being CBRE and JLL.
On the acquisition of Lemongrass Advisors' employee strength, Dutt said: "Being a service company, talent is the real asset of a company. So, we opted for talent acquisition, rather company takeover, to avoid regulatory hurdles and delays." Such model of acquisition, he said, was not new internationally but was done for the first time in India. "The talent sourced from Lemongrass Advisors will contribute to our service delivery capabilities and add greater depth and expanse to our service offerings, including project management, property management and in-depth research of the eastern region," Dutt said.
For starters, the acquisition has expanded C&W's operations in the eastern region twofold. Abhijit Das, who was the former founder and managing director of Lemongrass Advisors, will lead the Kolkata operations as the new office director for the east.
"Kolkata's real estate market," Abhijit Das said, "is promising. As we would be servicing clients across the region, including Odisha, Assam, Bihar and also neighbouring Bangladesh, we expect to garner 25% market share in the next three years."