Global private equity firm Permira will acquire a majority stake in international luxury brokerage Engel & Völkers, the two companies announced on Monday. Engel & Völkers has signed a contractual agreement with the Permira funds, and the transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2021.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the Völkers family, as well as CEO Sven Odia and CFO Thilo von Trotha, will maintain nearly 40 percent of the company’s shares.
The luxury firm’s founder, Christian Völkers, will step into the role of chairman of the supervisory board. Meanwhile, Engel & Völkers’ management board will remain the same, with Sven Odia continuing in his role as CEO. The board will also include Dr. Jörg Rockenhäuser, managing partner DACH at Permira, and David Brückmann, principal.
“For us, I think this is kind of a best of both worlds situation,” Anthony Hitt, Engel & Völkers Americas president and CEO, told Inman in a conversation.
“Because in our situation, Chistian Völkers and Sven Odia, who have been guiding us and leading us for a long time, are absolutely part of the roadmap moving forward — this is not a temporary piece where they’ll just be here for a little while then disappear. They’re definitely part of how this continues to go and I think in the next years they’ll both continue to be at the helm. So on the one side, we still get the family operated and then on the other side, now we have some access to some expertise and capital that we maybe haven’t had at that level in the past.”
Engel & Völkers was founded in 1977 in Hamburg, Germany. The brokerage has over 11,500 agents operating in 900 locations across more than 30 countries.
In a press statement, the brokerage characterized the shareholding acquisition as a move that would position Engel & Völkers for future strategic innovation, expansion into new markets and increased digitalization within the company.
“We expect commission revenues to exceed 1 billion euros by the end of the year, generated by over 11,500 real estate advisors writing their own success story under the Engel & Völkers brand,” Odia said in a statement. “The company’s excellent brand reputation and our leading tech and services platform form the foundation for their success. Our impressive growth trajectory is the ideal time to set the course for an even strong future, to develop new strategies and to further expand the brand’s potential, especially in the tech-operated business.”
For the Americas, specifically, Hitt told Inman he thought the increased capital would help the brand become more competitive in the market.
“I think we will now have access to a different group of sparring partners, and I think that will be very, very good for us,” he said.
Permira has been investing in tech-sector platforms for over 35 years, supporting companies looking to growth through digitization and international expansion.
The Permira funds have invested in over 250 private equity investments across the technology, consumer, services and healthcare sectors. Other more well-known German companies the Permira funds have invested in include software company TeamViewer and payment provider Klarna.
“We are excited to support this family-run business together with Christian Völkers and the management team in this digital transformation journey and further accelerate growth through leveraging our proven expertise in digitalizing successful businesses,” Rockenhäuser said in a statement. “We see considerable opportunities to broaden the ecosystem around Engel & Völkers significantly in today’s digital world and open up new areas for growth this way.”
Hitt also told Inman that another exciting part of the new partnership with Permira is the way in which the two companies’ values align so well.
“I think we can be very proud of who Permira is historically and I think who they’ll be in the future and I think that’s important to a lot of people these days,” Hitt said. “I think people are looking for that transparency of who are your partners, where is your money coming from and where are your profits going to.”
“I’m very pleased with who this group is, I think they’re a group that really do align with who we are as a brand, who we’ve been as a brand and who we want to become as a brand,” he added.