NEW YORK CITY—Cushman & Wakefield, nowunder the control of Italy's Agnellifamily, is being put up for sale, according topublished reports. Citing people said to be familiar with thematter, the Wall Street Journal and BloombergBusiness reported Tuesday evening that ExorSpA, the Agnelli family's investment group, has approvedthe hiring of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help find a buyerfor its 81% controlling stake in the world's third-largestcommercial real estate services firm, which analysts have saidcould fetch $2 billion in the current market.

The Agnellis, who paid $565.4 million in 2007 for what was thena 67.5% interest in the firm, are said to prefer a privately heldbuyer. Furthermore, the family is said to be unwilling to sell to adirect competitor. Such a stipulation would rule out TPGCapital and BGC Partners, both of whichown large CRE brokerages, as potential buyers, as well as a mergerwith a standalone firm such as CBRE Group.

A spokesman for C&W tells that “as is the normalcourse of business,” both his company and Exor “continually seekways to further enhance the businesses, create value and furtheraccelerate their plans. There is currently no transaction todisclose, nor guarantee that such a review may result in anytransaction involving Cushman & Wakefield.”

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.