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February 15, 2011 6:55 PM

Simpson Thacher Tapped for $940 Million Real Estate Deal

Posted by Brian Baxter

CB Richard Ellis, the world's largest commercial real estate services company, announced on Tuesday that it plans to acquire the real estate investment management business of Dutch insurance and financial services giant ING Group for $940 million in cash.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is advising longtime client CBRE on the deal. M&A partner William Dougherty, corporate finance partner William Brentani, tax partner Marcy Geller, employee benefits partner Gregory Grogan, corporate partners Kirsten Jensen and Marissa Wesely, and IP partner Lori Lesser led a team from the firm working on the deal. (Grogan and Jensen handled management equity issues, while Wesely worked on credit.)

Last year Simpson represented CBRE on a $1.35 billion debt refinancing and $350 million senior notes offering. The firm also handled CBRE's $2.2 billion merger with Dallas-based real estate developer and investor Trammell Crow in November 2006.

CBRE advised Simpson when the firm opened in Washington, D.C., in 2005 and during a search for back office space in New York in 2007. (CBRE has helped several big firms land new digs and move support staff offsite.)

Michael Kantor, a former U.S. secretary of Commerce during the Clinton administration and current Mayer Brown partner, serves on CBRE's board. Laurence Midler serves as general counsel for the U.S. real estate giant.

A spokeswoman for Amsterdam-based ING says that the company was advised by Sullivan & Cromwell and Dutch firm Stibbe. ING previously turned to S&C when it sold off a 70 percent stake in its Canadian unit for $1.7 billion in 2009. (ING's in-house legal director is Jan-Willem Vink.)

The Wall Street Journal reports that as part of the deal, CBRE also acquired Clarion Real Estate Securities, a listed property securities business based in the U.S. that's also part of ING. That deal is valued at $100 million. Both transactions are expected to close in the second half of 2011.

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