Avison Young acquires NAI Haywards, launches European presence with new offices in London and Thames Valley, U.K.

Fast-growing Canadian commercial real estate services firm opens first offices outside North America; 20 members join from NAI

TORONTO, April 1, 2014 /CNW/ - Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, the world's fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, announced today that it has acquired London-based commercial real estate services firm Haywards LLP and opened Avison Young's first European offices in London and Thames Valley in the United Kingdom.

The new London-area offices represent Avison Young's first offices outside of North America and a milestone step in the firm's ongoing aggressive global growth and expansion strategy. The acquisition brings 20 new employees to Avison Young.

Over the past five years, Avison Young has grown from 11 to, now, 56 offices in 45 markets and from 300 to more than 1,500 real estate professionals across Canada, the U.S., and in Europe.

Established in 1992, Haywards, the U.K. member of NAI Global, provides full-service commercial real estate offerings that range from strategic planning and project implementation to acquisitions, dispositions, development and property and facilities management.

Effective immediately, Haywards partners Nick Cook, Tony Oxford, Iain Rackley and Sarah Cook become Principals of Avison Young.

Nick Cook also becomes Managing Director of the London and Thames Valley offices and will be responsible for growing a full-service commercial real estate platform in London through recruitment and acquisition. He will also manage the day-to-day operations of the London-area offices and lead expansion efforts in London and the rest of the U.K.

Oxford will also be responsible for project management and building consultancy, Rackley will oversee real estate, and Sarah Cook will serve as Vice-President of Finance in London.

"This is a very exciting and memorable day in the history of Avison Young. Our firm's strategy has always been to use London and the U.K. as a major launch pad into Europe, and to service assignments emanating from North America. But we wanted to ensure that we found the right people, the right location and, ultimately, the right fit so that we could provide a full range of offerings and the highest level of commercial real estate brokerage, advisory and property management services to clients from the outset," comments Rose. "We also wanted to establish our foothold with established industry leaders who have the necessary experience, knowledge and business relationships to guide us in the region."

Rose continues: "In acquiring Haywards, we know that we have found the right fit with Nick, Tony, Iain, Sarah and the rest of their outstanding team. Our firms have similar philosophies and attitudes toward client care. Strong international demand and growth of our global client base drove our decision to open our first European office in London."

"The opportunity to maintain highly successful ongoing operations in the Thames Valley is a value-added bonus and gives us a head-start on future expansion elsewhere in the U.K.," adds Rose. "We're thrilled to have 20 new employees and the diverse skill sets and expertise that they can offer our firm and clients as we begin our expansion in the U.K., Europe and eventually Asia."

Avison Young's new London office will be located at 19 Margaret Street in the West End. Meanwhile, effectively immediately, Haywards' office in Thames Valley (Hampden Chase, Little Hampden, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire) will be rebranded as Avison Young.

"I got to know Mark Rose and Avison Young Principal Robin White through my connections with the Avison Young office in Los Angeles," says Nick Cook. "Mark, Robin and I got on immediately, as if we'd known each other for years. We have very similar aspirations and view the real estate advisory world in much the same way. Avison Young's ambition to become a global player, but to be of a size that could still provide high-quality personal service aimed solely at the clients' well-being, fits perfectly with Haywards' way of doing business."

Cook continues: "Other important aspects for us were Avison Young's desire to remain private and work as one firm, have one P&L, and one set of partners, serving together for the good of the commercial real estate industry, clients, staff and local community. Notwithstanding our team's wish to grow, we are determined not to dilute the brand by becoming large, unwieldy and anonymous.  We want to be relevant, attract great people, provide a personal service and be regarded as our clients' trusted expert. Operating under the Avison Young banner, we will be able to do all of that - and more - while sharing in the firm's Principal-led, collaborative culture. We're thrilled that so many people, who are like family, will continue with us as we embark on a promising and exciting new journey."

The London and Thames Valley office openings complement the previous appointment of Duncan Hamilton, who has served as Avison Young's Director of Global Client Services, based in London, since 2012. Cook and his team will work closely with Hamilton, who oversees international business development initiatives for Avison Young.

London is a leading global marketplace in its own right. It has the fifth-largest city economy in the world, after Tokyo, New York City, Los Angeles and Seoul, generating more than 20% of the U.K.'s GDP. When the greater metropolitan area is included, the London region's contribution to the U.K.'s GDP rises to more than 30%. As a global city, London serves as the headquarters of more than half of the U.K.'s largest listed companies (the "FTSE 100"), and approximately 100 of Europe's 500 largest companies are headquartered and located in Central London, while some 75% of Fortune 500 companies have offices in the area. While serving as a leading global financial centre, London has welcomed more than 480 overseas banks that have offices in the city, along with many other major professional services, media, tourism, technology and retail firms.

Thames Valley is one of the most prosperous regions of Europe and home to a large number of multinational companies and innovative business start-ups. Renowned for a highly skilled workforce, beautiful countryside, proximity to London, and easy access to Heathrow Airport, the Thames Valley has become a destination of choice for business. On almost any conventional economic indicator, the sub-region outperforms its U.K. counterparts (excluding London). The U.K. Competitiveness Index demonstrates the strength of the Thames Valley economy. Every local authority in the sub-region is ranked among the 62 most competitive local economies in the U.K. Particularly strong results are recorded by Windsor and Maidenhead and Bracknell Forest (respectively ranked 7th and 13th out of 434 authorities).

Today's announcement comes on the heels of Avison Young being named last week as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies for the third year in a row.

Biographies

Nick Cook
Nick Cook brings to Avison Young more than 35 years of commercial real estate experience as a company owner and founder, executive and advisor. Prior to joining Avison Young, he served as the co-founder, president and CEO of Haywards in London for 22 years. While at Haywards, Cook directed the business consultancy team in London, advising a number of client boards on how their property and workplace strategies could benefit their businesses, and assisting with risk management and financial control. He also managed the company's London office while overseeing its Thames Valley operations.

Cook began his commercial real estate career in London by training with three of the top international real estate firms. His experience spans property leasing, development and marketing. He has also acted as a client, serving as a director for several companies and gaining an excellent understanding of the need to deliver proper work environments that support operational need. Notable clients that Cook has advised during his career include: All3 Media, BBC, Camelot, Cooper Industries, Damovo, Global Knowledge, GlaxoSmithKline, Medtronic UK, Mitsubishi Electric, Nexen Petroleum and Serco.

Cook holds a Bachelor of Science in land administration as well as an Institute of Directors (IoD) diploma in Company Direction. He is also a Chartered Management Consultancy Surveyor, holds memberships in Corenet U.K., Federation of Corporate Real Estate Executives and Workplace Consulting Organisation. He chairs the Property Directors Forum, which he founded.

Ian Rackley
Ian Rackley, a 30-year-plus commercial real estate industry veteran, joins Avison Young after serving as a partner with Haywards for eight years. Prior to joining Haywards, he worked as the head of property investment at the United Bank of Kuwait, where he raised funds for, built, developed and managed property-investment vehicles. Before then, he served as a director with Baring, Houston and Saunders (now part of ING) on property-investment funds, clients' mergers and acquisitions, and the company's global occupational property portfolio.

Rackley is a specialist in office leasing, acquisitions and dispositions, and has served companies across a range of sectors, including finance, energy, media and healthcare. His projects have led him to work closely with a client's senior management team on profitability, commercial real estate needs and the implementation of a mutually-agreed-upon strategy for each property. Rackley holds a Bachelor of Science in urban estate management from the University of Westminster and a Masters in Business Administration from Ashridge Business School in the U.K. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Tony Oxford
Tony Oxford brings more than 20 years of commercial real estate experience to Avison Young. For the past 10 years, he has served as the partner in charge of the building consultancy and project management team in the U.K. with Haywards. He has provided professional advice across a wide range of commercial property types for both private-sector and public-sector clients. Prior to joining Haywards, Oxford spent seven years as a director with NB Real Estate (now known as Capita) after toiling for the first four years of his commercial property career with DTZ, where he rose to the position of associate director.

Experienced in handling client property requirements throughout the U.K., Oxford has overseen a number of national accounts and supported business development initiatives for other multi-disciplinary surveying practices, offering project management and building-consultancy support. He has also gained expertise in the development, deployment and successful implementation of national build-to-suits and refurbishment. Oxford holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in building surveying from John Moores University in Liverpool. He is also an Associate Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, holding designations as both a building and project management surveyor.

Sarah Cook
Sarah Cook is a qualified chartered secretary, bringing together legal and financial skills. Her expertise lies in business management, statutory and legal compliance, and audits for U.K. and overseas entities. She works with clients on mergers and acquisitions, share schemes, property portfolio management, pension and other benefit arrangements and corporate insurance coverage. She also works on change projects where she strives to deliver practical and cost-effective solutions, enabling the client's executive team to focus on critical business objectives.

In recent years, she has worked either in-house or in a consulting role across various business sectors, primarily in communications and media. She began her career as the policy director for the U.K. office of the International Chamber of Commerce, working with governments and corporate executives on global business issues. Since then, she has held assistant company secretary and/or business manager positions with All3Media, TSL Education, The Telegraph Group, MediaCom, and Grey Communications Group in London. An associate member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, Cook holds a Bachelor of Science degree in international studies from Birmingham University.

Editors/Reporters
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For further information/comment/photos:

Sherry Quan, Principal, National Director of Communications & Media Relations, Avison Young: 604.647-5098; mobile: 604.726-0959; sherry.quan@avisonyoung.com

Mark Rose, Chair and CEO, Avison Young: 416.673.4028

In U.K., please contact:
Kerri Moore, Senior Consultant, Grayling PR, London: +44 (0) 207 932 1854; mobile: +44 (0) 7821 836 890; kerri.moore@grayling.com

Michael Saxton, Managing Director, Grayling PR, London: +44 (0) 207 592 7933

Nick Cook, Principal and Managing Director, London and Thames Valley, U.K., Avison Young: +44 (0)7768 60 70 60

Avison Young's new London, U.K. office is located at: 19 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8RR, U.K.

Avison Young's new Thames Valley, U.K. office is located at: Hampden Chase, Little Hampden, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 9PT, U.K.

www.avisonyoung.com

Avison Young was a winner of Canada's Best Managed Companies program in 2011 and 2012 and requalified in 2013 to maintain its status as a Best Managed company

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SOURCE Avison Young Commercial Real Estate (BC)

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Media Relations:
Sherry Quan
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email: sherry.quan@avisonyoung.com