DTZ Holdings plc has announced that it has acquired J. Barnicke Limited, Canada's largest independently owned, full service commercial real estate services company. DTZ is acquiring J. Barnicke Limited for a consideration of CAD A further payment of up to CAD 1. The total consideration includes a deferred amount of CAD 2.
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The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures. This article was published more than 9 years ago. Some information in it may no longer be current. When J. Barnicke Ltd. Indeed, just before the deal was sealed in , J. Barnicke - which was just two years from its 50th anniversary - lost two significant international relationships because of its lack of reach beyond Canada's borders.
The deal couldn't have come at a worse time, however. The recession was about to corrode both the number of deals and the amount of money spent on real estate services in Canada, and the distraction of becoming a public company proved a challenge.
Now, the Canadian arm of DTZ is looking for its third chief executive officer since the merger and vowing to get back on track. Chairman Tom McCarthy has been tasked with revitalizing the company as the economy shows signs of recovery. We are in the market for a high-profile individual. The outgoing CEO, Alan Colquhoun, came from our European division in Poland, and he was here to integrate our organization into the global network.
Now that the company is to be back in Canadian management's hands it's very important for us to get back to the core business that we are in - the transaction business. I hope we can get someone in fairly short order to take care of the administrative stuff. For now I'm here to get the ball moving after a difficult and brutal recession. The perfect storm hit us. We were converting from a private company to a public company and there were many changes associated with that.
It wasn't always popular with the people we have here. So we did have some attrition. We lost some of our good people. And we lost marginal people who weren't succeeding.
My own personal philosophy, however, is I'd rather see a leaner, meaner organization than a lot of people who aren't productive. We now have agents across Canada. In a public company there is so much more reporting. They bring in HR people. The entire transparency of a public company is so vastly different than when the company was private, when it was basically our own rules as management.
It's a very different culture to work for. How did that affect the day-to-day operations of the company? When the public company thing took place the integration made us lose the connection that is the heart and soul of our business - transactions and relationships. We got away from the basics, where the client is the king. This business is not about filling forms in - we never did any of that before. We worked hard every day, all day looking for new opportunities.
Without criticizing my own people I can tell you the transition from a private company to public got our focus switched to other areas.
What do you do differently to keep people around now? We need to nurture and provide support as the economy moves into expansion. Consider most of our clients are corporations and most of our revenues come from commissions or fees. So most of the people that we deal with in our company are in their minds independent contractors who are commission-driven. It's a challenge to manage them because they are eat-what-you-kill people.
They see themselves as hunters, not skinners. It's difficult to tell someone who is in the commission business - so they are self-funding - to tell them what to do. You can just support them and lead by example. Competition is tough out there, though. How can they compete?
The brokerage industry in Canada is very well served by the people in it. I don't want to criticize my competition; they are excellent. It's a matter of choice - you need to distinguish yourself among those people. We need to look at training people to provide a wider range of service so we're on their staff and not their payroll. They need to view us as their real estate department.
We'd better be prepared for that so they see us as a resource. The idea of nurturing existing relationships is very important. But what specifically will your people be doing differently? There's no point in getting in touch with a guy who is perhaps a purchasing agent - you need to get to the decision makers and you better have a value proposition when you talk to them. All we have to sell is information services and some negotiating skills.
We need to speak their language. Better financial skills. I'm not a proponent of cold calls - warm calls are easier to deal with.
We need to spend a lot of time on good training to build communications skills. What will the DTZ worldwide brand mean to you as you work to develop new business? We have a joint global mandate with CBRE with Shell [International]that they served to us on a silver platter, for example. We manage retail and real estate operations - we have about 10 people working pretty much full time on that account.
That tells you we would like to mine the opportunities that are there with DTZ. That's going to be helpful and important to us - our Shell work emanates from their global positioning. The bulk of the revenue for this company will be in Canada. Most of the opportunities will have nothing to do with the worldwide situation, but in time it can be a combination of both. Our business is still largely local. It's not as if we have something exclusive to us - all of our competitors have excellent representation here.
Now is the time to [focus on]existing clients and provide information; if you're going to be silent it's suicide in this market. This is not the time to forget the people who put the suits on our backs and the cars in our driveways. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters globeandmail.
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DTZ Barnicke shores up after a 'perfect storm'