With the 2009 acquisition of Trillium by Telereal to form Telereal Trillium, one of the largest players in the property outsourcing world was born. At the time of the merger, the new company’s portfolio boasted a vast range of assets that included both properties and capital. As is the case anytime a large organization is created, focus immediately turned to how Telereal Trillium would conduct its business, both internally and externally. At the forefront of that focus was CEO, Graham Edwards, under whose leadership the new company would plot a course forward. Read on to see the path that course took, and how it set the foundation for the company’s continued development (About.me).
The aftermath of any merger is peppered with logistical concerns of how to go about the day to day operations of the new company. Telereal Trillium was no different. Though the two companies from which it was formed had already occupied offices in the same building at the time of the acquisition, as well as having a fair degree of shared employee turnover, there was still much legwork to be done to merge operations. To tackle the challenge in a directed and efficient manner, the company created a small team focused solely on integration. This team targeted functions such as IT and financial as the first groups to merge as the company reorganized. A senior management team was also created, comprising executives from both sides of the merger. In this way, Telereal Trillium was able to hit the ground running with the various considerations that go into a company post-acquisition.
That the company was able to excel at the merger process is perhaps no surprise, given their experience in the area. Both Telereal and Trillium had an extensive background in conducting change management on behalf of tenants prior to joining forces. In fact, when discussing the operation, Graham Edwards noted that “For BT last year we moved 15,000 staff around their property portfolio.” Clearly, it was a challenge he was prepared to meet head-on.
In light of their plethora of moving parts, large-scale operations like the merger of these two property giants, require the direction of a seasoned leader to be successful. With a depth of experience in a variety of high-profile companies, Graham Edwards was an ideal candidate for the task. Already having served as CEO of Telereal since 2001 at the time of the merger, he had plenty of first-hand knowledge of how to run a large corporation. Beyond that, he had also been working in the property and finance world extensively prior to his time as CEO. Previously, he had held positions at Merrill Lynch and the BT Group Plc’s property department. He has also served as the chief investment officer of Talisman Global Asset Management.
Edwards was also the person responsible for initiating the transaction that created Telereal in the first place. That 2001 deal, which resulted in 6,700 properties being transferred from BT to Telereal, was set up by Land Securities Trillium and the William Pears Group. At that time both parties invested £146 million toward the transaction which resulted in the £2.4 billion property outsourcing deal that created Telereal. Graham Edwards was named CEO of Telereal upon its inception, a position he held until transitioning to CEO of Telereal Trillium as a result of the merger.
In addition to logistical considerations, business dealings were high on the list of priorities for the company after the acquisition. However, the executive team also had a strong conviction that they had no need to rush into a deal with undue haste. Though the projection for the newly formed company was that it would reach a turnover of £1 billion a year, there was no sense that a business deal must be done in its first twelve months. In other words, there was no need to show off the leverage of the company with a splashy purchase.
This desire to rely on sound business fundamentals over showy displays of leverage was further underscored by the areas in which Telereal Trillium was looking to operate after the acquisition. The company was looking at a variety of deals including sale-and-leaseback transactions, property partnerships, facilities management, and real estate strategy.
In addition, the company opted to abandon some of the previous areas of income for the two companies from which it was formed. As part of this initiative, Telereal Trillium announced it would not pursue private finance initiative and public-private partnership contracts. The company also announced that Trillium had sold its ten percent stake in the Trillium Investment Partners fun, which was subsequently renamed as Semperian. According to Edwards, the move was made because “It is not a marketplace where we can deploy capital in the way we want to.”
Another area in which Graham Edwards anticipated a niche for Telereal Trillium was in the world of large-scale capital transactions. These kinds of transactions are similar to a 2007 deal conducted by Telereal with Prupim. In that deal, Telereal purchased £750 million of property from the Royal Bank of Scotland through a sale-and-leaseback transaction. Edwards felt his company had a singular ability to offer value to the market in this area, stating that “We will be up against property companies for sale and leasebacks, contractors like Kier and Skanska for refurbishment projects and big facilities management players for the big contracts. We will uniquely bring together all three.”
This type of confidence and optimism about Telereal Trillium in the aftermath of the merger has been rightly widespread. With a talented team of experienced executives and staff that have a wealth of knowledge in the field of property outsourcing and management, there are many talents to draw on from within the company. This high degree of skill and experience is perhaps best exemplified by CEO Graham Edwards and his forward-looking plans. Coupled with the extended access to capital that resulted from the merger, there is plenty of reason to think that Telereal Trillium can have a large impact on the property world far into the future.
More about the Telreal Trillium merger and Graham Edwards at https://www.propertyweek.com/graham-edwards/2438935.publicprofile?pview=1