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Sodexho Stalking Jones Lang

National Real Estate Investor is reporting that Paris-based Sodexho Alliance SA has retained U.S. investment bank Lazard to help it launch a $5 billion bid for Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle.

Why would a global cafeteria operation be hankering for JLL anyway? It may not be as odd a fit as it sounds. After all, Sodexho is one of the largest providers of food and facilities management in North America and it operates in 75 countries outside of the U.S. If Sodexho could leverage the power of JLL's 1 billion sq. ft. global empire of managed properties, a merger could be accretive for both sides.

One of Sodexho's primary business lines is corporate cafeterias. There are clearly a few of these scattered throughout JLL's 982 million sq. ft. portfolio of commercial space as that total is weighted towards office space. JLL also manages several municipal retail destinations, among them high-traffic areas like Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The JLL Web site claims that the firm is the largest third-party shopping center manager with a 38 million sq. ft. portfolio of domestic centers.

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