CBRE/PKF deal: same players, same services, more resources

From left: Bill Stone, David Larone, Brian Stanford

From left: Bill Stone, David Larone, Brian Stanford

TORONTO — The acquisition of PKF by CBRE Group Inc. earlier this week is a move that makes sense to both parties. 

“Integration means we will still have the same players and the same services as before — but more resources,” PKF's national managing director David Larone told CLN.

On Tuesday, CBRE Group, Inc. announced that it had acquired PKF Consulting Inc. (PKF Canada), a leading advisory, consulting and research firm specializing in the Canadian hospitality and tourism industries. The acquisition follows CBRE’s purchase in July 2014 of PKF Consulting USA, which provides similar advisory and consulting services for the U.S. and global hospitality sector.

Discussions with Thomas Callaghan, leader of the hotel practice for PKF Consulting U.S. a CBRE Company, began about that time, and discussions with CBRE proper started in September 2014. “It was obviously a lot of work for both teams — and it was a well-kept secret,” said Larone.

But co-operation between the two companies in Canada is nothing new, said CBRE's Bill Stone, executive vice president for CBRE Hotels in Canada.  “We started a number of years ago to cross-reference business — if Brian Flood couldn't do something, we would turn to Dave [Larone] and Brian [Stanford, national managing director of PKF Canada] first, and they thought of us for anything that was brokerage-related. The whole notion of working more closely together has been around a long time.

“The response in the past 24 hours has been fabulous,” Stone said on Wednesday. “People truly understand the synergies.”

“With the strength of our key professionals, combined with CBRE’s international presence within the hotel and overall real estate sectors, we are well positioned to grow our practice here and abroad,” added Stanford. 

“CBRE now offers the most comprehensive professional services specific to the Canadian hospitality sector. The combination of PKF’s proprietary data and research, and industry expertise with our existing brokerage and valuation offering will prove to be a powerful advantage for our clients,” said Paul Morassutti, executive managing director, Canadian Valuation & Advisory Services, CBRE.  

Founded in 1970, PKF Canada is led by Larone and Stanford, who will remain in leadership roles with CBRE. The firm has offices in Toronto and Vancouver. During the past four years, PKF Canada has provided advisory services for more than $4 billion of hotel assets, serving a wide-range of owners, lenders, purchasers and developers. PKF Canada’s professionals will become part of CBRE’s Valuation & Advisory Services business line and will collaborate closely with CBRE Hotels’ professionals. The firm’s market research data and analysis will be integrated into the larger PKF research platform at CBRE, providing the most comprehensive source of hotel financial information in North America.  

Both Stone and Larone stressed that while access to PKF reports will provide huge value for their clients, the  PKF research will remain independent and confidential. 

Larone also noted that PKF director Fran Hohol's tourism and leisure practice is “not an insignificant piece of our practice,” and would provide CBRE with a skill set not readily available.

Asked about challenges, Larone quipped that he would have to get used to having a boss and working for a larger company after 23 years of running a boutique organization. The PKF hotels group in Canada has 23 people, while the hotels group in the U.S. has 137. 

CBRE’s Valuation & Advisory Services provides appraisal, consulting, environmental and property condition consulting services to a broad base of local, regional and global clients. It has a professional staff of more than 1,700 appraisers, engineers, architects and environmental scientists in more than 300 major metro areas globally. CBRE Hotels has nearly 300 professionals in key markets around the world. 

See related article, CBRE takes over PKF in Canada.

At the PKF Forum last fall, top left to right, Bill Stone, CBRE, David Larone, Fran Hohol, David Ferguson, all from PKF.  Bottom row, left to right, Brian Stanford and Nicole Nguyen, PKF.

At the PKF Forum last fall, top left to right, Bill Stone, CBRE, David Larone, Fran Hohol, David Ferguson, all from PKF. Bottom row, left to right, Brian Stanford and Nicole Nguyen, PKF.