Global, Full Service Real Estate Platform Created Through Integration of Cornerstone, Babson Capital Real Estate Finance Group and Protego Real Estate

Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers and Babson Capital Management will integrate Babson Capital’s real estate finance group (REFG) into Cornerstone effective in 1Q10. 

The newly expanded Cornerstone will become a subsidiary of Babson Capital Management.

Cornerstone also announced its pending acquisition, which are subject to certain approvals, of London-based Protego Real Estate InvestorsProtego Real Estate Investors Finance  and their subsidiaries (Protego).

The purchases establish Cornerstone’s presence in the European market, helping the firm become one of the world’s largest real estate investment advisors.  

With the acquisitions, Cornerstone will now have a full service, global real estate investment organization with capabilities in public and private debt and equity. The global organization will have offices in the U.S., U.K., Europe and Asia with a combined staff of around 250 people and $30 billion of assets managed and serviced.

Babson Capital’s REFG specializes in commercial mortgage lending and related products, has $21 billion in assets managed and serviced, and employs around 100 people in offices throughout the U.S.

Robert Little, who currently heads the firm's REFG, will continue to lead the debt business reporting to Cornerstone President and CEO David J. Reilly as chief investment officer, finance and as a senior member of Cornerstone’s management team.

Complementing its integration of Babson Capital’s real estate business, Cornerstone’s pending acquisition of Protego expands the company’s global reach. 

Protego, which is a privately-held, U.K.-based real estate investment firm, has roughly $2.5 billion of assets managed and serviced, 31 employees, and offices in London, Rotterdam, and Stockholm. Mainly focused on office, retail, and industrial property, the firm offers real estate investment advisory services to a variety of clients through funds and separate accounts.

“Our new organization will allow us to participate across the entire real estate capital spectrum and best serve our clients with a full complement of debt, equity and real estate securities expertise,” Reilly said. “As the global marketplace rapidly continues to evolve, we will be well-positioned to satisfy the demands of investors for more comprehensive and creative public and private real estate finance and equity products.”

“The Cornerstone and Babson Capital real estate teams have a history of working together to serve clients including our parent MassMutual,” Little said. “By teaming up under the Cornerstone brand, we will continue to build a world-class platform for institutional real estate investors.”
“Protego has grown rapidly since its creation five years ago as demand for real estate investment expertise has grown among institutional and wealth management clients,” Protego CEO Iain Reid said. “Protego as a subsidiary of Cornerstone will be able to bring a wider and more integrated array of investment opportunities to our global clients as well as expand the Cornerstone platform to include the European marketplace.”

“The Cornerstone, Babson Capital REFG and Protego teams all share a common goal of providing core and value-added investment and advisory services to institutional and other qualified investors,” said Thomas M. Finke, Chairman and CEO of Babson Capital and Chairman of Cornerstone. “The integration of these real estate entities enhances our ability to achieve this common goal and will lead to a broader and more comprehensive, seamless approach to real estate investment.”

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