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Thursday, February 25, 2021

CBRE takes stake in flexible workplace provider

CBRE Group Inc. has acquired a big stake in a fast-growing flexible workspace provider that plans an initial public offering later this year.

CBRE has acquired a 35% stake in Industrious, making the commercial real estate services and investment firm the largest shareholder in the New York-based company. CBRE is expected to acquire an additional 5 percent of Industrious in the coming weeks, which would result in a 40 percent total stake. Dallas-based CBRE paid about $200 million in cash for the transactions and will transfer its own flexible workspace brand Hana to Industrious as part of the transaction.

“Our investment in Industrious is consistent with our view that flexible office space is playing an increasingly central role in companies’ occupancy strategies and aligns us with an exceptional operator and an outstanding leadership team that is executing a great strategy,” said Bob Sulentic, CBRE president and CEO. “We have been building our Hana flex-space business expressly to meet the flex-space opportunity and Industrious now enables us to capitalize on it at scale with a portfolio of well-situated units in key markets.”

Under the agreement, two CBRE executives —Sulentic and Global Chief Investment Officer Emma Giamartino — will join Industrious’ Board of Directors. Industrious has more than 100 locations in more than 50 U.S. cities and specializes in asset-lite flexible workplace operating models. When the transaction closes, the 10 existing Hana locations in the U.S. and U.K. will be operated by Industrious.

Recent CBRE surveys show that 86% of its occupier clients, which include many of the world’s largest global corporations, plan to incorporate flex office space in their real estate strategies, and 82% will favor buildings that offer a flex-office component.

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