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NEW YORK CITY-When news came out Tuesday morning that Toronto-based FirstService Corp. was purchasing a 65% interest in New York City-based GVA Williams, it wasn’t completely clear how things might shake out–FirstService is the service platform of Colliers International, and there has been no announcement of a merger between Colliers Macaulay Nicolls, the largest member within the Colliers International affiliation, and GVA Williams, as was previously predicted.

A GVA Williams spokesman tells GlobeSt.com that for the most part, GVA Williams will be working with Colliers. “Williams will refer all out-going business to company-owned and affiliated Colliers International offices and other FirstService Partner companies,” the spokesman says. “FirstService company-owned offices will refer all business going into New York to Williams. We also expect that most Colliers International affiliated offices, will refer business going into New York to Williams.”

In August, Colliers Turley Martin Tucker formerly revealed that it, along with Colliers Pinkard and Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers were consolidating ownership structures into one holding company. Following the closing of this transaction, the new holding company would expand to include locally based Colliers ABR, and industry sources told GlobeSt.com at the time that it cemented Colliers ABR’s staying power. When anonymous industry sources were previously interviewed in the July story about Colliers International–which the four companies are members of–and GVA Williams, they said that Colliers ABR would be the main question mark in a potential merger deal. “GVA Williams does export a lot of corporate business, that is not Colliers ABR’s motivation,” one source said. “The way Colliers International works is that ABR is a franchisee and there is no ownership link, so it would stand on its own in New York.”

Although questions still stand as to specific logistics of who gets what business, the GVA Williams’ spokesman tells GlobeSt.com that the interest acquisition news allows FirstService to gain a significant foothold in New York City, which was its objective, and which is “critical to the growth and development of its global commercial real estate operations.” The spokesperson says it establishes for them an important new hub for further expansion of corporate services, investment sales, capital markets transactions, property appraisals and project management in the city. “Having a strong New York platform will significantly enhance the deal flow to the 147 company-owned Colliers International offices in the US and in 36 countries around the world,” the spokesman says.

The spokesman tells GlobeSt.com that senior management team at GVA Williams was attracted to the FirstService Partnership model, “which encourages senior management to retain a significant equity stake in the business while preserving the necessary decision-making authority to run the day to day operations.” According to the spokesman, having a strong company-owned fulfillment network globally “will substantially increase the market position of Williams in New York and strengthen its ability to manage the real estate services needs of its global clients.”

When asked if GVA Williams considered other “suitors” with different business models or service platforms, the spokesman simply notes that “in order to provide our local, national and international clients with best-of-class services, GVA Williams routinely explored ways to grow our business. To do otherwise would be a disservice to our shareholders, employees and clients.”

The spokesman says that what is happening in the financial markets has no bearing on integration plans. “In New York City alone, there is nearly 500 million sf of office space, and while there will be some impact on the office market, it will be a comparatively small percentage of the total amount of space,” he says. “The fundamentals of the market are still solid as are the economics of the city. The industry is cyclical–we’ve been in down cycles in the past and have come through them and we will come through down cycles in the future.”

As far as restructuring goes, principals at the firm remain unchanged, although titles have changed. “Williams expects to build upon all existing platforms,” the spokesman says.

The spokesman notes that the industry is in a consolidation mode. “It remains to be seen if there will be further consolidation, but it is not out of the question.”

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