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NEW YORK CITY-Insignia/ESG today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire French real estate services concern Groupe Bourdais, further expanding the Manhattan-based firm’s European presence.

The nearly $50-million deal has an initial cash outlay of $30.74 million, followed by performance-based installments of up to $18.97 million, payable over a three-year period.

Andrew L. Farkas, chairman and CEO of Insignia, said the deal, long sought on both sides, is nearly wrapped up. “We’re very close,” Farkas tells GlobeSt.com. “We have a binding contract on both sides. We should close in a couple of months.”

A Paris beachhead has been an obvious next step in Insignia’s international strategy. Having established a London presence in 1998 with the purchase of Richard Ellis Group Ltd., Farkas says the Bourdais deal will give Insignia “a market-leading position in one of Europe’s other primary financial headquarters,” in addition to its New York, Hong Kong and Mexico City operations.

“We’ve been working on this deal for years,” Farkas says. “We have targeted them and, frankly, they have targeted us and we’ve been working on it for quite some time.”

Jean-Claude Bourdais, company chairman, will join Insignia’s executive committee and European operations board, and Groupe Bourdais will be rechristened Insignia Bourdais. Alan Froggatt, CEO of Insignia’s European initiatives, will run the French operation.

The 47-year-old French firm employs 350 staff in eight offices, five in the Paris metro area as well as regional facilities in Lyon, Aix and Marseille. The company’s revenues for the fiscal year ending March 31 were $44.6 million, up 17.5% from 2000. It has a 20% share of France’s office leasing and tenant rep market.

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