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NEW YORK CITY-IFIL, the Italian holding company run by the Agnelli family, has purchased a 67.5% interest in Cushman & Wakefield, effectively replacing long-time owner Rockefeller Group International. IFIL will pony up $563 million for the buy. C&W’s management and employees will own 32.5% of the company’s equity, according to a statement released just in advance of a press conference, currently being conducted. IFIL has the option to acquire an additional 8.1% of the company.

Bruce Mosler will continue as president and CEO of the company. The board will be reshaped to include IFIL’s Carlo Sant’Albano, Alessandro Potestá, Michael Bartolotta and Pierre Martinet. Mosler, John Cushman and John Santora from C&W will round out the board members.

Earlier this month, sources confirmed to GlobeSt.com that IFIL was in talks with Rockefeller and C&W to buy the service firm. At the time, the deal was estimated to be worth $600 million.

When that news broke, a C&W spokesperson said, “We are regularly in discussions with potential business partners. In recent months, we have evaluated opportunities with a number of firms, including IFIL, but no agreements have been formalized. As a company policy, we never comment about rumors or speculation, particularly in relation to our corporate strategy.”

While IFIL invests in a number of industries, it is no stranger to the real estate sector. According to its website, the company holds 25% ownership in Turismo & Immobiliare, a company that is part of Italia Turismo, the largest tourism and hotel real estate company in Italy.

C&W, which started in 1917 as a property management company, has more than 11,000 employees worldwide in 58 countries, with its world headquarters in New York City. The company also has headquarters in Toronto; Mexico City; Shanghai; London; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The purchase of C&W comes in a fourth quarter that has been full of mergers and acquisitions, with rumors swirling of more to come. Yesterday shareholders at Trammell Crow Co. approved the $2.2-billion merger with CB Richard Ellis, creating a firm that totals $4.4 billion in revenue in 2006. In late November, Equity Office Properties Trust agreed to a buy-out by Blackstone Group for $36 billion.

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