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NEW YORK CITY-More than a year of speculation and months of waiting came to an end today as shareholders of Insignia Financial, headquartered here, threw their support behind the company’s merger with LA-based CB Richard Ellis. The deal, valued at $415 million, is expected to close tomorrow.

When the ink dries, the merger will create what is being touted as the world’s largest brokerage firm. According to a statement released this morning, “Both CB Richard Ellis’ acquisition of Insignia and Island Fund I LLC’s acquisition of Insignia’s real estate investment assets (immediately prior to the CB Richard Ellis transaction) are expected to be completed on July 23, 2003. As previously announced, holders of Insignia’s common stock will receive $11.156 per share in cash upon closing, assuming both the Island Fund and CBRE-Insignia transactions are completed, as expected.” Island fund is headed by Insignia Financial’s Andrew Farkas.

As we reported when GlobeSt.com broke the story in February, the resultant real estate services company boasts revenues exceeding $1.8 billion, 16,000 employees in 47 countries, and what spokespeople call “market leadership positions in major business centers,” including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Paris and Hong Kong.

Capital for the buy comes in large part from a cash contribution of up to $145 million from Blum Capital Partners. CB Richard Ellis has also received a commitment from Credit Suisse First Boston for the necessary debt financing. CB Richard Ellis was taken private in July 2001 in an $800 million management buyout transaction led by Blum Capital Partners. According to one deal-watcher, the infusion from CSFB was a way to “double down” on its original investment in CB Richard Ellis, made to bank-roll the firm’s move to private status.

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