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NEW YORK CITY-The employees of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler are talking about an employee buyback of their firm, according to two separate industry sources. The move is apparently a reaction to the news that its Sydney, Australia-based parent firm, Lend Lease Corp., is “evaluating alternatives to maximize shareholder value from its business.” Holliday, billing itself as the largest intermediary of commercial real estate capital in the nation, has logged debt, equity, structured finance and property sale transaction totaling $53 billion since 1998. The firm is owned by Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Inc., the wholly owned Atlanta-based subsidiary of the Sydney umbrella firm.

As one outside source tells GlobeSt.com: “Pending the outcome of the Lend Lease sale by its Australian parent, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler is focused on an employee buyback to regain their independence.”

Not surprisingly, executives at Lend Lease are asking the industry to hold its horses, pointing out, as one spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com: “The Lend Lease board is undertaking a strategic review and has been since this summer. It is looking at all options for strengthening the business and intends to have the review completed before the end of the year.” In terms of whether or not that review is likely to include the disposition of all or part of the US operation, the spokesperson had “absolutely no comment.”

Nevertheless, independent sources say that internal buyout talks are definitely underway. “Personnel is looking to buy it back,” a second source stated flatly.

But GlobeSt.com has learned that while a buyback is in the talking stages, it is far from a done deal and there are three possible ways for the drama to play out: “Lend Lease could find a favorable suitor in an institutional owner and retain Holliday,” says one executive familiar with the situation. “Holiday Fenoglio could buy themselves or they could find an independent capital source to buy them.” No value was given on the possible buyback.

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