Los Angeles Business Journal

Grubb & Ellis to Sell Assets to Competitor

By Deborah Crowe Originally published February 21, 2012 at 2:49 p.m., updated February 21, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.

Southern California commercial real estate brokerage Grubb & Ellis Co. late Tuesday said it will sell its assets to the New York parent of Newmark Knight Frank as part of a prepackaged bankruptcy

The struggling Santa Ana company, which does significant business in Los Angeles County, said it will sell its assets to New York financial services firm BGC Partners for an undisclosed amount. BGC last October acquired Newmark Knight Frank, a large New York commercial real estate firm.

BGC made a $30 million credit bid – a process that uses debt as currency – and offered $4.8 million in bankruptcy financing. In a Monday filing, Grubb & Ellis asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan to approve the sale of its assets at a March 23 hearing, but also requested March 21 auction in case another buyer emerges with a better offer.

"We believe Newmark Knight Frank's and Grubb & Ellis's broad knowledge and extensive brokerage expertise, combined with BGC's powerful proprietary technology and our strong financial backing, will enable Grubb & Ellis to thrive and grow,” said BGC Partners Chief Executive Howard Lutnick in a statement.

Grubb & Ellis put itself on the market last year after struggling with losses related to a 2007 acquisition that weighed down the company during the recession. The company, which had 3,000 employees, said in the filing it had $150 million in assets and $167 million in liabilities.