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Jones Lang LaSalle to acquire Spaulding & Slye

$150m buyout will give Boston firm more clout

Spaulding & Slye, a homegrown Boston real estate firm with a large office in Washington, D.C., is joining forces with Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., one of the largest real estate services and investment companies in the world, executives said yesterday.

Publicly traded Jones Lang LaSalle, with headquarters in Chicago and 100 offices in 36 countries, will acquire privately held Spaulding & Slye for $150 million, the companies said. The deal is expected to close by year-end.

Spaulding & Slye, with about 500 employees, is a prominent player in Boston and Washington real estate markets, but it has little presence elsewhere. Its growth has been hampered by that limited size, and in July Spaulding & Slye acknowledged publicly it was looking for partners that would allow it to expand.

Jones Lang LaSalle has 19,000 employees worldwide. But it has a low profile in Boston, where it has only 40 employees.

''It's a marriage made in heaven," said David I. Begelfer, chief executive of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties' Massachusetts chapter. ''You're getting the total infrastructure for a very well known and successful operation."

About 80 current and former partners of Spaulding & Slye, plus 20 to 30 employees with ownership shares, will share the $150 million. A 19-year affiliation of Spaulding & Slye with the Colliers International Property Consultants Inc. network of 248 privately held real estate firms will end.

''For us here in Boston, it's going to be business as usual with a greater platform to work with and grow within," said Kyle B. Warwick, New England regional director for Spaulding & Slye.

The two firms do a wide variety of real estate work, including property management, leasing, investment sales, and development. Unlike Jones Lang LaSalle, Spaulding & Slye has a construction operation. Both its construction and investment units will retain the Spaulding & Slye name.

Otherwise, though, the rest of Spaulding & Slye operations will carry the Jones Lang LaSalle name within the next year.

Jones Lang LaSalle has global clients including Bank of America Corp. and Microsoft Corp. In the real estate services world, as in many other big industries, firms limited to local or regional areas have found it difficult to compete with companies that have multiple offices and a wider reach.

CB Richard Ellis merged with Insignia/ESG in 2003 and is one of Jones Lang LaSalle's main competitors today.

Spaulding & Slye in Boston is perhaps best known today for having managed and won permits for the 21-acre Fan Pier development site in South Boston, which was recently sold by its owners, the Pritzker family of Chicago, for $115 million.

It is also an equity partner and manager of NorthPoint, an ambitious mixed-use project at a former railroad yard in East Cambridge that will have more than 2,000 residential units.

Spaulding & Slye will move out of its offices at 255 State St. and Jones Lang LaSalle out of Two International Place. Their combined 300 or so employees will work at One Post Office Square under a new 10-year-lease.

Peter C. Roberts, chief executive for the Americas of Jones Lang LaSalle, said no layoffs are planned. Jones Lang LaSalle had not been able to grow here as fast as it wanted by hiring its own employees but now will have the office size it had long sought.

Spaulding & Slye has ''areas like higher education, life sciences, and law firm practices," Roberts said. ''Putting that gray matter with the resources we have on the ground and around the world, we can absolutely grow."

Thomas C. Palmer Jr. can be reached at tpalmer@globe.com.

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