Chris Cheap GVA
Chris Cheap, regional senior director GVA, said the acquisition would bring "a really strong offer"

Avison Young confirms GVA buy

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Avison Young has agreed to buy GVA from parent company EQT, a deal which would see a merger between Avison Young’s Manchester office, formerly WHR, and the GVA team.

The deal was signed at midnight last night and is subject to regulatory approval, but is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.

Avison Young and GVA are both multi-disciplinary consultancies who deliver a mix of services such as office and industrial agency, development advice, rates and planning.

Both businesses have been recently acquisitive in Manchester. Last year Avison Young bought WHR, and this year planning consultancy How Planning joined the GVA fold.

While the 40-strong WHR was one of Avison Young’s first in-roads into the UK market, taking its total numbers in the country to around 100, GVA has 160 staff in Manchester alone, and 1,500 nationally.

Internationally however, Avison Young has a significant network of offices, with 2,700 employees in Canada, the US, Mexico, Germany, Romania and Korea. Adding in GVA Worldwide, an international network of affiliate companies, the acquisition will take combined operations to 5,000-plus property professionals.

It’s not yet confirmed what will happen to the GVA brand, although a rebrand to Avison Young is likely.

Chris Cheap, regional senior director of GVA, based in Manchester, said: “This is fantastic news, and a really exciting opportunity. Avison Young has an established base in Manchester, so the addition of ourselves as a strong Manchester and North West business creates a really strong offer for existing and future clients. It also gives us access to the North American and Asian markets that we didn’t have previously, as well as ownership with long-term stability.”

The news comes off the back of Avison Young’s announcement in July that it had received a $250m investment from CDPQ, a Canadian institutional fund manager, in order to accelerate its growth plan. This was quickly followed by the acquisition of a London-based firm, and the opening of Avison Young’s first office in Korea.

Credit Suisse and KPMG acted as Avison Young’s financial advisors in the transaction; and Gowling WLG, DLA Piper and Stikeman Elliott are serving as Avison Young’s legal advisors. BofA Merrill Lynch acted as EQT’s and Apleona’s financial advisor; and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy is serving as EQT’s and Apleona’s legal advisor. Deloitte provided vendor assist services to GVA. 

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