Calcutta, Sept. 4: International property consultancy Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) has acquired the team of homegrown firm Lemongrass Advisors to boost its presence in the city.
C&W, one of the top three consultancies of the world, took 23 people of Lemongrass along with its founder and managing director Abhijit Das, who joined the global firm as the office director.
“The local companies have a stronger presence in Calcutta than their international peers. With Das and its team on board, C&W hopes to change that going forward,” C&W executive managing director (South Asia) Sanjay Dutta said. He declined to reveal the deal size, but market sources put the valuation of Lemongrass at around $1 million.
C&W opted for “talent acquisition” instead of buying out Lemongrass as a corporate entity. Dutta said the real value of a service company was its people and hence the deal size did not shrink because of the novel structure.
“We have gone for talent acquisition rather than company takeover to avoid regulatory hurdles and delays,” he said, adding that such an acquisition model is not new globally but has been done for the first time in India.
Lemongrass will become a shell company and wind up after three years after receiving all dues, according to the existing contracts.
Das had left C&W’s global competitor Jones Lang LaSalle to set up Lemongrass seven years back with the help of some top builders of Calcutta.
C&W has set a target to grow 35 per cent in the eastern market within three years compared with 25 per cent in India. The brokerage market is pegged at Rs 100 crore. The consultancy also plans to expand in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the next few years.
Meanwhile, Dutt said he expected a correction in the real estate market would take longer in the current slowdown than during the Lehman Brothers crisis in 2008. “In 2008, the impact was global and partly felt only in the financial sector but this slowdown will take more time for correction to complete than the Lehman Brothers crisis,” he said.