On the Merger, Off The Record

Several Manhattan-based real estate executives were queried on the impact of the now finalized merger between CB Richard Ellis and Insignia/ESG. None of the sources, save one, were anxious to go on the record. What follows are some of their comments:

"Ego will be an obstacle here, and brokers have huge egos. You’ve got high-producing human beings here at Insignia and CB Richard Ellis. And these movers and shakers are a very fragile bunch. The question is: Can somebody tiptoe through this minefield of egos without setting them off? And will these merging titans implode? It’s not as simple as 1+1=2. There will be attrition." --Lawrence Fiedler, New York University Real Estate Institute professor

"This is really about re-packaging the same services. You can package them any way you want, but what counts are the brokers. And it’s hard to say right now if the brokers will stay on at the new company. In the near term there will obviously be greater competition both outside and inside the new firm. It’s hard to say who will prevail there — the brokers or the new firm."

"The guy doing a corporate re-location can argue that they have a greater reach now. Now the multinationals can deal with one brokerage instead of two, which is a big advantage. But for the tenants it’s not exactly a great thing, since they will have less bargaining power with fewer property managers to choose from."

"The smart brokers will just play it out for a while. As for the support staff, they will probably cut back on these people."

"CB Richard Ellis is a very specialized, managed company. It’s really not an entrepreneurial company like Insignia. There’s that difference. And you have a lot of distinct personalities who will be working together now."

"These are two great organizations coming together. The combination of the two will unquestionably create a market leader."

"[As far as the New York City market is concerned…], CB Richard Ellis’ buying Insignia would be, in my view, like Pinto buying Rolls Royce."

"Why did CB Richard Ellis buy Insignia? That’s simple — for Insignia’s landlord representation assignments here in Manhattan. They’ve also been trying to get a foothold in this market for the past 4/5 years."

"In the New York City market, you are taking the shine off the apple. Newmark will benefit from this merger."

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