The market is still reverberating from Friday's shock news that 285-year old property firm Drivers Jonas is to merge with accountancy giant Deloitte (click here for more info). Here in Birmingham it has also been the number one hot topic of conversation...
With both firms having offices in the city - DJ on Cornwall Street and Deloitte in Brindleyplace - it is still unclear as to what will happen with each firm's respective office space.
As soon as I heard the news last week I called DJ's Birmingham head Gary Cardin. He said: "It is very rare to be part of a business which challenges itself and drives its agenda forward with vision and purpose. This merger is an exciting opportunity for both Deloitte and Drivers Jonas and provides the best platform to develop our businesses.
He added: "I'm equally sure that our clients will recognise our forward thinking and the benefits that will accrue. I look forward to forging our business through Drivers Jonas Deloitte where both firms have a long standing mutual respect. I am hugely excited by the proposition and look forward to working with Richard Edwards and the real estate team at Deloitte to maximise a wide range of existing and new business opportunities."
In what is being touted as the most significant merger in over a decade, the move is generally being seen by the market as a smart one between two companies that have obvious synergies.
Deloitte will expand immediately and Drivers Jonas will naturally want to take advantage of Deloitte's global brand.The merger will give the firm instant global reach and with Deloitte advising 99 firms out of the FTSE 100 it also gives DJ access to a potentially huge client base in its existing markets.
GVA Grimley's Charlie Toogood believes the merger is making the industry "sit up and think" and says that "it could be the start of a new era for surveying practises."
However, he admits that people are struggling to understand the fact that no money has been involved in the deal. "The bit that people can't seem to get their heads around is that no money has changed hands. Is the partnership then based upon enhanced returns going forward?
Toogood also points out that he believes the deal could potentially mark the beginning of the end of agency work at DJ. He says: "The press release stated that the new company will be a consultancy business which makes me question - is the writing on the wall for DJ's agency team?"
If this were to be true it would no doubt be a blow for the agency teams across the country not least in Birmingham. With the deal due to conclude in March let's hope the situation becomes clearer by then...
What are your views on the merger? Do you think this could be the end of agency work at Drivers Jonas? Is the merger a good thing for the companies clients? What impact will it have on the property industry? Reply here with your views...