GLOBAL - Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has confirmed it will merge with King Sturge to create Europe's largest real estate agency.

JLL has agreed to pay a cash payment of £197m (€223m) to the partners of King Sturge, with £98m paid upfront and the balance delivered over five years.

All 43 King Sturge offices and businesses across Europe, including 24 in the UK, will become part of JLL and operate under its brand.

Integration of business lines and teams, and the full rebranding of all business activities, will begin immediately.

JLL said the greatly enhanced strength and depth of service capabilities across the region that the merger would create would directly benefit the clients of both companies.

Christian Ulbrich, chief executive for EMEA at JLL, said: "The obvious strategic and cultural fit between Jones Lang LaSalle and King Sturge makes this a logical and very attractive proposition for both firms.

"It gives us a scale and depth of expertise that will make our client service delivery capabilities second to none in both the UK and continental Europe."
Richard Batten, joint senior partner at King Sturge, said: "This is a coming together of two great companies that are culturally aligned, with fantastic business synergies, to create the best firm of property advisers in Europe.

"We will be better together. The ability to operate on a global platform, and the opportunities that this will provide, is great news for all our staff and clients."

JLL said the newly combined capital markets team would provide clients with unparalleled access to international capital flows through its global platform.

JLL has a strong presence in London, and King Sturge is seen as being strong in the UK's regional markets. The merger will also strengthen JLL's presence in Europe, especially in central and eastern and southern markets.

Andrew Gould will serve as chief executive of the merged business in the UK. Richard Batten will assume the role of UK executive chairman.

Gould said: "We are tremendously excited to combine these two outstanding firms. Each has a reputation for excellence based on teamwork and putting clients first.

"Our new leadership team is already in place, consisting of senior directors from both firms, and their immediate focus will be to begin to realise the extraordinary potential of the merger for our clients and colleagues."