Los Angeles Business Journal

Grubb & Ellis Receives Financing from Texas Investment Firm

By Deborah Crowe Monday, October 17, 2011

Struggling commercial brokerage Grubb & Ellis Co. on Monday said it reached a financing deal with a Texas private equity firm for additional funding, and is in negotiations with the firm regarding a “strategic transaction.”

The deal calls for an affiliate of C-III Capital Partners LLC of Irvine to invest $10 million in the Santa Ana company through expansion of an existing $18 million credit facility that Grubb & Ellis received from Santa Monica’s Colony Capital earlier this year. The C-III affiliate also will buy $4 million of Colony credit facility, which will give C-III and Colony Capital each a $14 million stake in Grubb & Ellis.

C-III is an affiliate of Island Capital Group LLC, a New York real estate merchant bank that recently acquired NAI Global, a global commercial brokerage based in Princeton, N.J.

“C-III Capital Partners and Colony Capital are highly regarded multifaceted organizations with deep expertise and involvement in the commercial real estate industry,” said Grubb & Ellis Chairman C. Michael Kojaian in a statement. “Partnering with these firms offers significant growth opportunities for Grubb & Ellis.”

Grubb & Ellis, which was weakened during the commercial real estate downturn, has been seeking financing and a potential merger or sale for several months. C-III Capital is run by Andrew Farkas, the founder of Island Capital and former chairman of Insignia Financial Group Inc. He started Island Capital after Insignia was acquired by L.A. commercial real estate services giant CBRE Inc. in 2003.

“Grubb & Ellis is a long-time leader in the real estate industry, and we share management’s vision of strengthening the platform and growing the company,” said Farkas in a statement.