The deal is confirmed, the £197m transaction is due to close today, and the company formerly known as Jones Lang LaSalle and King Sturge is launched tomorrow. With so much happening in such a short space of time, what does the coming together of these Premier League agencies mean for the Midlands market?
As previously reported on EGi, JLL will gain offices in Nottingham and other places such as Bristol, Liverpool and Newcastle but will suffer duplication in cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Leeds.
I spoke to Ian Cornock, head of King Sturge’s offices in Birmingham and Jan Thompson, head of JLL’s Brum operation on a conference call today, and the duo were keen to put forward the positives of the deal.
With over 60 staff in each office the teams are of equal size. KS sits in 13,000 sq ft at 45 Church Street, while JLL occupies 8,500 sq ft at 1 Colmore Square. With only two years left on its lease, JLL was already starting to look at its options in terms of space in the city prior to the merger.
Thompson says: “Ian and I have already sat down to look at getting the teams together. It may be that some JLL staff move to Church Street and some KS staff move to Colmore Square, but in the long term we need to be together. However, it’s key that we keep an eye on costs.”
Although the leadership of the Birmingham operation is yet to be determined, Thompson and Cornock are eager to convey that they have worked together before at Colliers for 11 years and that they get on well.
As for duplication and the possibility of staff losses, Thompson says: “There’s not an awful lot of overlap in Birmingham. We have to try and manage things through natural attrition.”
However, local agents believe there could be significant job losses. One, who preferred to remain nameless, says: “There is definitely going to be fall out from this. We’re sitting back and waiting for it to happen.”
As for Nottingham, Thompson says it’s a market the JLL Brum team know reasonably well and that JLL will “embrace our King Sturge colleagues in the city.” Asked if any of the West Midlands team will move across, Thompson says that this is still up for discussion.
Although the detail is yet to be finalised, King Sturge’s Nottingham office must be grateful that there is not the overlap in teams such as its West Midlands counterpart.
With a total staff complement of around 20, KS has a small team in Nottingham but has been punching above its weight in recent times with landmark deals including the 100,000 sq ft prelet to E.ON on the Guildhall site last year.
As for the impact from the merger on the Nottingham market, Tim Garratt, director at niche agency Innes England says he’s “not losing any sleep over it.” He adds: “I don’t think it’ll make any difference in Nottingham at all. King Sturge has a talented group of people here and my guess is they’ll remain. I don’t see the merged firm as any more of a threat than KS is today. I do however think this is shareholder driven.”
With a visit from JLL’s UK chief executive Andrew Gould and King Sturge senior partner Richard Batten scheduled for 10.30am tomorrow morning, it will be the dawn of a new era not only for the the newly merged Birmingham team but for the whole of JLL and the formerly known King Sturge.
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