“First and foremost, because of Mark Beffort and Harrison Levy, the opportunity to partner with them, to build a greater enterprise collectively, and also to leverage our talents, skills and abilities and get better results for our clients — that's the bottom line,” Strange said. “(Sperry Van Ness is) a good company. There's nothing wrong with that company, nothing wrong with that platform.
“But I felt it was time to elevate our game, to challenge our advisers and staff, and this gave me the opportunity to merge into a bigger platform locally with more resources, as well as to step up our game through its international platform of Newmark Grubb.”
The local realignment stems from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Santa Ana, Calif.-based Grubb & Ellis Co. in early 2012. BGC Partners acquired Grubb & Ellis's assets just more than a year ago and started integrating them with Newmark Knight Frank, which BGC bought in October 2011. BGC Partners started in 2004 as a spinoff from New York-based Cantor Fitzgerald.
Beffort said the new local firm's direct connections to Wall Street and London finance are “night-and-day” different from its relationship to the old Grubb & Ellis Co. Grubb & Ellis Co. listed $150 million in assets and $167 million in debt at the end of 2011, about six weeks before it filed for bankruptcy.
“Grubb & Ellis was a national brokerage firm and purely based on brokerage business. They had a significant amount of debt and servicing that debt with a brokerage business is very, very difficult. Today, we have zero debt — the (former) Grubb & Ellis platform has zero debt, and they actually have significant capital behind them.”