LOS ANGELES-CB Richard Ellis Services Inc. has hired both a well-known investment banking firm and a powerful group of LA-based attorneys to advise the company on its unsolicited takeover offer and possibly to generate other bids.

The global real estate services giant tabbed investment banker Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., along with the law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery, to review the buyout offer made about two weeks ago by privately held Blum Capital Partners LP. Blum Capital, which includes a handful of current CB Richard Ellis executives and directors, has offered to purchase the 62% of CB Richard Ellis stock it doesn’t already own for $15.50 a share in a deal valued at $740 million.

When the buyout proposal was made public Nov. 13, CB Richard Ellis officials said they had formed a special committee of in-house executives to evaluate the offer and would need “at least a few weeks” to weigh it. In a brief statement announcing the hiring of Morgan Stanley and the law firm late Wednesday, CB Richard Ellis said the pair was tabbed to “assist the Special Committee in its evaluation of the previously announced proposal … and to assist the Special Committee in considering other proposals or alternatives for the Company.”

Though a CB Richard Ellis spokesman wouldn’t elaborate on the company’s plans with Morgan Stanley, organizations that hire an investment banking firm often do so because they expect to–or at least hope to–generate additional merger or acquisition bids.

The takeover effort by Blum Capital already has ran into problems. Last week, CB Richard Ellis shareholder Viviana Cortes filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court to block the buyout effort and collect damages and legal fees. In the suit, Cortes says the $15.50-per-share offer is too low and notes that Blum Capital includes at least four current CB Richard Ellis directors.

Also last week, debt-rating giant Standard & Poor’s put CB Richard Ellis on its “CreditWatch” list with negative implications, citing factors that include “very high” debt levels and uncertainty over Blum Capital’s efforts to take the company private. A negative designation means the company’s debt rating may be cut in the future.

S&P’s decision was triggered, in part, by a 13-d filing that Blum Capital made with the Securities & Exchange Commission. In the filing, Blum Capital said it was seeking as much as $600 million to finance the transaction, including as much as $225 million in subordinated bonds–often referred to as “junk bonds.”

Despite the statements in the SEC filing, a Blum Capital spokesman has since told GlobeSt.com that a deal could be arranged to close the transaction with little or possibly even no use of junk-bond financing.

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