Company Quick10K Filing
CBRE Group
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$0.00 341 $17,260
10-K 2020-03-02 Annual: 2019-12-31
10-Q 2019-11-06 Quarter: 2019-09-30
10-Q 2019-08-09 Quarter: 2019-06-30
10-Q 2019-05-10 Quarter: 2019-03-31
10-K 2019-03-01 Annual: 2018-12-31
10-Q 2018-11-09 Quarter: 2018-09-30
10-Q 2018-08-09 Quarter: 2018-06-30
10-Q 2018-05-10 Quarter: 2018-03-31
10-K 2018-03-01 Annual: 2017-12-31
10-Q 2017-11-09 Quarter: 2017-09-30
10-Q 2017-08-09 Quarter: 2017-06-30
10-Q 2017-05-10 Quarter: 2017-03-31
10-K 2017-03-01 Annual: 2016-12-31
10-Q 2016-11-09 Quarter: 2016-09-30
10-Q 2016-08-09 Quarter: 2016-06-30
10-Q 2016-05-10 Quarter: 2016-03-31
10-K 2016-02-29 Annual: 2015-12-31
10-Q 2015-11-09 Quarter: 2015-09-30
10-Q 2015-08-10 Quarter: 2015-06-30
10-Q 2015-05-11 Quarter: 2015-03-31
10-K 2015-03-02 Annual: 2014-12-31
10-Q 2014-11-10 Quarter: 2014-09-30
10-Q 2014-08-11 Quarter: 2014-06-30
10-Q 2014-05-12 Quarter: 2014-03-31
10-K 2014-03-03 Annual: 2013-12-31
10-Q 2013-11-12 Quarter: 2013-09-30
10-Q 2013-08-09 Quarter: 2013-06-30
10-Q 2013-05-10 Quarter: 2013-03-31
10-K 2013-03-01 Annual: 2012-12-31
10-Q 2012-11-09 Quarter: 2012-09-30
10-Q 2012-08-09 Quarter: 2012-06-30
10-Q 2012-05-10 Quarter: 2012-03-31
10-K 2012-02-29 Annual: 2011-12-31
10-Q 2011-11-09 Quarter: 2011-09-30
10-Q 2011-08-09 Quarter: 2011-06-30
10-Q 2011-05-10 Quarter: 2011-03-31
10-K 2011-03-01 Annual: 2010-12-31
10-Q 2010-11-09 Quarter: 2010-09-30
10-Q 2010-08-09 Quarter: 2010-06-30
10-Q 2010-05-10 Quarter: 2010-03-31
10-K 2010-03-01 Annual: 2009-12-31
8-K 2020-02-27 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-11-14 Officers, Other Events
8-K 2019-11-06 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-09-06 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-08-01 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-06-07 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-05-17 Shareholder Vote
8-K 2019-05-08 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-04-15 Officers, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-03-07 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-02-27 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Officers, Exhibits
8-K 2019-02-13 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2019-01-04 Officers
8-K 2018-12-20 Enter Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Exhibits
8-K 2018-12-05 Officers
8-K 2018-11-16 Officers, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-01 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-01 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-09-11 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-17 Officers
8-K 2018-08-02 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-18 Officers, Amend Bylaw, Shareholder Vote, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-02 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-22 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-15 Leave Agreement
8-K 2018-03-08 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-02-16 Officers
8-K 2018-02-08 Earnings, Exhibits
CBRE 2019-12-31
Part I
Item 1. Business.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
Item 2. Properties.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Item 6. Selected Financial Data.
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures.
Item 9B. Other Information.
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance.
Item 11. Executive Compensation.
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters.
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services.
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules.
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary.
EX-4.2G cbre-ex42g_341.htm
EX-4.3 cbre-ex43_339.htm
EX-10.7 cbre-ex107_340.htm
EX-10.24 cbre-ex1024_338.htm
EX-10.26 cbre-ex1026_337.htm
EX-21 cbre-ex21_190.htm
EX-23.1 cbre-ex231_191.htm
EX-31.1 cbre-ex311_9.htm
EX-31.2 cbre-ex312_13.htm
EX-32 cbre-ex32_11.htm

CBRE Group Earnings 2019-12-31

CBRE 10K Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

Comparables ($MM TTM)
Ticker M Cap Assets Liab Rev G Profit Net Inc EBITDA EV G Margin EV/EBITDA ROA
CBRE 17,260 14,719 9,329 22,197 4,859 1,080 1,949 18,427 22% 9.5 7%
INVH 13,953 17,714 9,677 867 0 87 1,047 22,666 0% 21.6 0%
BPY 6,647 122,520 75,780 0 0 0 0 6,486 0%
JLL 6,365 10,581 6,697 16,947 0 470 934 6,487 0% 6.9 4%
VAC 4,333 9,023 5,753 4,240 0 59 236 3,817 0% 16.2 1%
CWK 3,974 6,759 5,471 8,503 1,646 -76 486 6,198 19% 12.7 -1%
TRNO 3,144 1,968 531 160 0 59 118 3,466 0% 29.5 3%
KW 2,896 6,996 5,706 649 0 189 468 2,492 0% 5.3 3%
HPP 2,576 2,802 907 0 0 25 47 3,115 66.0 1%
UE 2,142 2,858 1,849 414 0 90 249 3,228 0% 13.0 3%

cbre-10k_20191231.htm
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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the Transition Period from _______________ to _______________

Commission File Number 001-32205

 

CBRE GROUP, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

94-3391143

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

 

400 South Hope Street, 25th Floor

Los Angeles, California

 

90071

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

 

 

(213) 613-3333

 

 

(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

 

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share

CBRE

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes     No 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes     No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes   No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes    No  .

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer  

Accelerated filer  

Non-accelerated filer  

Smaller reporting company  

Emerging growth company  

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.    

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes  No

As of June 28, 2019, the aggregate market value of Class A Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $17.3 billion based upon the last sales price on June 28, 2019 on the New York Stock Exchange of $51.30 for the registrant’s Class A Common Stock.

As of February 14, 2020, the number of shares of Class A Common Stock outstanding was 334,790,842.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the proxy statement for the registrant’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held May 14, 2020 are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 


 

CBRE GROUP, INC.

ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

Item 1.

Business

1

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

7

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

22

Item 2.

Properties

23

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

23

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

23

 

 

 

PART II

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

24

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

27

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

29

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

49

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

51

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

118

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

118

Item 9B.

Other Information

120

 

 

 

PART III

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

121

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

121

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

121

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

121

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

121

 

 

 

PART IV

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

121

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

121

 

 

 

Schedule II – Valuation and Qualifying Accounts

122

 

 

SIGNATURES

128

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

PART I

Item 1.

Business.

Company Overview

CBRE Group, Inc. is a Delaware corporation. References to “CBRE,” “the company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to CBRE Group, Inc. and include all of its consolidated subsidiaries, unless otherwise indicated or the context requires otherwise.

We are the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, based on 2019 revenue, with leading global market positions in our leasing, property sales, occupier outsourcing and valuation businesses. As of December 31, 2019, we operated in more than 530 offices worldwide and have more than 100,000 employees, excluding independent affiliates. We serve clients in more than 100 countries.

Our business is focused on providing services to real estate occupiers and investors. For occupiers, we provide facilities management, project management, transaction (both property sales and leasing) and consulting services, among others. For investors, we provide capital markets (property sales, mortgage origination, sales and servicing), leasing, investment management, property management, valuation and development services, among others. We provide services under the following brand names: “CBRE” (real estate advisory and outsourcing services); “CBRE Global Investors” (investment management); “Trammell Crow Company” (U.S. development); “Telford Homes” (U.K. development) and “Hana” (flexible-space solutions).

Our revenue mix has shifted in recent years toward more contractual revenue as occupiers and investors increasingly prefer to purchase integrated, account-based services from firms that meet the full spectrum of their needs nationally and globally. We believe we are well-positioned to capture a substantial share of this growing market opportunity. We generate revenue from both management fees (large multi-year portfolio and per-project contracts) and commissions on transactions. Our contractual, fee-for-services businesses generally involve occupier outsourcing (including facilities and project management), property management, investment management, appraisal/valuation and loan servicing. In addition, our leasing services business line is largely recurring in nature over time.

In 2019, we generated revenue from a highly diversified base of clients, including more than 90 of the Fortune 100 companies. We have been an S&P 500 company since 2006 and in 2019 we were ranked #146 on the Fortune 500. We have been voted the most recognized commercial real estate brand in the Lipsey Company survey for 19 years in a row (including 2020). We have also been rated a World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute for seven consecutive years (including 2020), and are included in the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index and the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index.

CBRE History

We will mark our 114th year of continuous operations in 2020, tracing our origins to a company founded in San Francisco in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake. Since then, we have grown into the largest global commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2019 revenue) through organic growth and strategic acquisitions, including our recent acquisition of Telford Homes Plc, which closed in October 2019.

Our Business Segments and Primary Services

CBRE Group, Inc. is a holding company that conducts all of its operations through its indirect subsidiaries. CBRE Group, Inc. does not have any independent operations or employees. CBRE Services, Inc., our direct wholly-owned subsidiary, is also a holding company and is the primary obligor or issuer with respect to most of our long-term indebtedness.

We report our operations through the following business segments: (1) Advisory Services, (2) Global Workplace Solutions and (3) Real Estate Investments.

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Advisory Services

Our Advisory Services segment provides a comprehensive range of services globally, including property leasing, capital markets (property sales and mortgage origination, sales and servicing), property management, project management services and valuation services. Most of our Advisory Services operations are conducted through our indirect wholly-owned subsidiary CBRE, Inc. Our mortgage loan origination, sales and servicing operations, the vast majority of which are in the U.S., are conducted exclusively through our indirect wholly-owned subsidiary operating under the name CBRE Capital Markets, Inc., or CBRE Capital Markets, and its affiliates.

The primary services within Advisory Services are further described below.

Leasing Services

We provide strategic advice and execution for owners/investors, and occupiers/tenants of real estate, primarily in connection with the leasing of office, industrial and retail space. In 2019, we negotiated leases valued at approximately $168.2 billion globally. While the majority of our leasing revenue is reported in the Advisory Services segment, we do earn leasing revenue for certain contractual occupier clients in the Global Workplace Solutions segment that arises as a direct result of a business relationship with that segment.

We generate significant business from account-based occupier clients, where we are retained to negotiate leases for all or a portion of their portfolio. This results in recurring revenue over time. We believe we are the market leader for leasing services in most leading U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau), including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami/South Florida, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle.

Capital Markets

We offer clients property sales and mortgage services. The tight integration of these services helps to meet marketplace demand for comprehensive capital markets solutions. During 2019, we closed approximately $322.6 billion of capital markets transactions globally, including $264.6 billion of property sales transactions and $58.0 billion of mortgage originations and loan sales.

We are the leading property sales advisor globally. In the United States, we accounted for approximately 17% of investment sales transactions greater than $2.5 million across all property types in 2019, according to Real Capital Analytics. Our mortgage brokerage professionals arrange, originate and service commercial mortgage loans through relationships established with investment banking firms, national and regional banks, credit companies, insurance companies, U.S. Government-Sponsored Enterprises, or GSEs, and pension funds.

Globally, our loan origination and sales volume in 2019 was $58.0 billion, including approximately $19.5 billion for U.S. GSEs. Most of the GSE loans were financed through revolving warehouse credit lines through a CBRE subsidiary that is dedicated exclusively for this purpose and were substantially risk mitigated by either obtaining a contractual purchase commitment from the GSE or confirming a forward-trade commitment for the issuance and purchase of a mortgage-backed security to be secured by the loan. We also oversee a loan servicing portfolio, which totaled approximately $230.1 billion globally at year-end 2019.

In many countries that we operate in (including the United States), our real estate services professionals (both leasing and capital markets) are compensated primarily through commissions, which are payable upon completion of an assignment. This mitigates the effect of compensation, our largest expense, on our operating margins during difficult market conditions. We strive to retain top professionals through an attractive compensation program tied to productivity as well as investments in support resources, including professional development and training, market research and data/information, technology, branding and marketing.

2


 

Property and Project Management Services

We provide property management services on a contractual basis, primarily for owners of and investors in office, industrial and retail properties. These services include construction management, marketing, building engineering, accounting and financial services. As of December 31, 2019, we managed 2.6 billion square feet of properties globally for property owners/investors. We are compensated for our services through a monthly management fee earned based on either a specified percentage of the monthly rental income, rental receipts generated from the property under management or a fixed fee. We are also often reimbursed for our administrative and payroll costs directly attributable to the properties under management. Our management agreements with our property management services clients may be terminated by either party with notice generally ranging between 30 to 90 days; however, we have developed long-term relationships with many of these clients and the typical contract continues for multiple years. We believe our contractual relationships with these clients put us in an advantageous position to provide other services to them, including leasing, refinancing, disposition and appraisal.

Project management services are provided to owners, investors and occupiers of real estate in local markets. Revenues from project management services generally include fixed management fees, variable fees and incentive fees if certain agreed-upon performance targets are met. Revenues from project management may also include reimbursement of payroll and related costs for personnel providing the services and subcontracted vendor costs. While the majority of our project management revenue is reported in our Global Workplace Solutions segment, we also report one-off and non-contractual project management revenue in our Advisory Services segment. In 2019, project management revenue in our Advisory Services segment represented approximately 33% of total project management revenue for CBRE.

Valuation Services

We provide valuation services that include market-value appraisals, litigation support, discounted cash flow analyses, feasibility studies as well as consulting services such as property condition reports, hotel advisory and environmental consulting. Our valuation business has developed proprietary systems for data management, analysis and valuation report preparation, which we believe provide us with an advantage over our competitors. We believe that our valuation business is one of the largest in the commercial real estate industry. During 2019, we completed over 259,000 valuation, appraisal and advisory assignments, excluding residential valuations in Asia Pacific.

Global Workplace Solutions

Our Global Workplace Solutions segment provides a broad suite of integrated, contractually-based outsourcing services globally for occupiers of real estate, including facilities management, project management and transaction services (leasing and sales).

We believe the outsourcing of corporate real estate services is a long-term trend in our industry, with multi-national corporations, and other large occupiers of space utilizing global, full-service real estate firms to achieve better workplaces for their people, while attempting to lower their cost of occupancy. We typically enter into multi-year, often multi-service, outsourcing contracts with services delivered via dedicated account teams and/or an on-demand basis. The key outsourcing services offered through this business segment are described below.

Facilities Management Services

Facilities Management involves the day-to-day management of client-occupied space for traditional office space, such as headquarter buildings, regional offices and administrative offices, as well as facilities serving specialized industries, such as data centers, life science and medical facilities, distribution warehouses, government facilities and retail stores. Contracts for facilities management services are often structured so that we are reimbursed for client-dedicated personnel costs and subcontracted vendor costs as well as associated overhead expenses plus a monthly fee, and in some cases, annual incentives tied to agreed-upon performance targets, with any penalties typically capped. In addition, we have contracts for facilities management services based on fixed-fee unit prices or guaranteed maximum prices. Fixed-fee contracts are typically structured where an agreed-upon scope of work is delivered for a fixed price while guaranteed maximum price contracts are structured with an agreed upon scope of work that will be provided to the client for a not-to-exceed price. We furnish facilities management services

3


 

to clients with single or multiple-location assets as well as regional, national and global portfolios. As of December 31, 2019, we managed approximately 4.2 billion square feet of facilities on behalf of occupiers.

Project Management Services

Project management services are typically provided on a portfolio-wide or programmatic basis. Revenues from project management services generally include fixed management fees, variable fees, lump sum and incentive fees if certain agreed-upon performance targets are met. Revenues from project management may also include reimbursement of payroll and related costs for personnel providing the services and subcontracted vendor costs. In 2019, we were responsible for implementing project management contracts valued at approximately $124.3 billion. While the majority of our project management revenue is reported in our Global Workplace Solutions segment, as previously mentioned, we also report project management revenue in our Advisory Services segment. In 2019, project management revenue in our Global Workplace Solutions segment represented approximately 67% of total project management revenue for CBRE.

Transaction Services

We provide strategic advice and execution for occupiers of real estate in connection with the leasing, sale or acquisition of office, industrial and retail space. Within the Global Workplace Solutions business, transaction services are performed for account-based clients, often as a key part of an integrated suite of commercial real estate services (with leasing being the most meaningful revenue stream included in our Global Workplace Solutions revenue). In 2019, leasing revenue included in our Global Workplace Solutions revenue represented approximately 3% of global leasing revenue for CBRE.

Real Estate Investments

Our Real Estate Investments segment is comprised of investment management services provided globally, development services in the United States and United Kingdom and a service designed to help property occupiers and owners meet the growing demand for flexible office space solutions on a global basis.

Investment Management Services

Investment management services are conducted through our indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, CBRE Global Investors, LLC and its global affiliates. CBRE Global Investors provides investment management services to pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, foundations, endowments and other institutional investors seeking to generate returns and diversification through investment in real estate, infrastructure, master limited partnerships and other assets. We sponsor investment programs that span the risk/return spectrum in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In some strategies, CBRE Global Investors and its investment teams co-invest with its limited partners.

CBRE Global Investors’ offerings are organized into four primary categories: (1) direct real estate investments through sponsored funds; (2) direct real estate investments through separate accounts; (3) indirect real estate and infrastructure investments through listed securities; and (4) indirect real estate, infrastructure and private equity investments through multi-manager investment programs.

Assets under management, or AUM, totaled $112.9 billion at December 31, 2019 as compared to $105.5 billion at December 31, 2018, an increase of $7.4 billion ($7.3 billion in local currency).

Development Services

Development services are conducted through our indirect wholly-owned subsidiary Trammell Crow Company, LLC, which provides commercial real estate development services in the United States, and Telford Homes Plc, a developer of residential multi-family properties in the United Kingdom.

4


 

Trammell Crow Company pursues opportunistic, risk-mitigated development and investment strategies for users of and investors in commercial real estate, as well as for its own account. The company is active in industrial, office and retail properties; healthcare facilities of all types (medical office buildings, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers); and residential multi-family/mixed-use projects. Trammell Crow Company is compensated by its clients on a fee basis with no, or limited, ownership interest in a property; in partnership with its clients through co-investment – either on an individual project basis or through programs with certain strategic capital partners or for its own account with 100% ownership. Development services activity in which Trammell Crow Company has an ownership interest is conducted through subsidiaries that are consolidated or unconsolidated for financial reporting purposes, depending primarily on the extent and nature of our ownership interest.

Telford Homes is a developer of residential-led, mixed-use sites in locations across London, where the need for homes exceeds supply. In recent years, Telford has undertaken a strategic shift to focus on the growing build-to-rent/multifamily market and is pursuing such opportunities with a number of third-party investors.

At December 31, 2019, we had $13.0 billion of development projects in process, and a development pipeline (prospective projects that we estimate have a greater than 50% chance of closing or where land has been acquired and the projected construction start date is more than one year out) totaled $5.8 billion at December 31, 2019.

Flexible-Space Solutions

Flexible-space solutions operations are conducted through our indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, CBRE Hana, LLC, which we also refer to as Hana. Hana develops and operates integrated, scalable, flexible workspaces, which contain office suites, conference rooms and event space and communal co-working space. Hana helps institutional property owners meet the rapidly growing demand from real estate occupiers for flexible office space solutions.

Competition

We face competition across all our lines of business on an international, national, regional and local level. Although we are the largest commercial real estate services firm in the world in terms of 2019 revenue, our relative competitive position varies significantly across geographic markets, property types and services. We face competition from other global, national, regional and local commercial real estate service providers; companies that traditionally competed in limited portions of our facilities management business and have expanded into other outsourcing offerings; in-house corporate real estate departments and property owners/developers that self-perform real estate services; investment banking firms, investment managers and developers that compete with us to raise and place investment capital; and accounting/consulting firms that advise on real estate strategies. Some of these firms may have greater financial resources than we do.

Despite recent consolidation, the commercial real estate services industry remains highly fragmented and competitive. Although many of our competitors are substantially smaller than we are, some of them are larger on a regional or local-market basis or have a stronger position in a specific market segment or service offering. Among our primary competitors are other large national and global firms, such as Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated, or JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers International Group, Inc., Savills plc and Newmark Group, Inc.; market-segment specialists, such as Eastdil Secured, Marcus & Millichap, Inc. and Walker & Dunlop; and firms with business lines that compete with our occupier outsourcing business, such as ISS, and Sodexo. In addition, in recent years, providers of flexible office-space solutions, such as WeWork, IWG/Regus/Spaces, Industrious and Knotel, have offered services directly to occupiers, providing competition, particularly for smaller space requirements. These providers also compete directly with our flexible-space solutions subsidiary, CBRE Hana, LLC, which launched in 2019.

Seasonality

A significant portion of our revenue is seasonal, which an investor should keep in mind when comparing our financial condition and results of operations on a quarter-by-quarter basis. Historically, our revenue, operating income, net income and cash flow from operating activities tend to be lowest in the first quarter, and highest in the fourth quarter of each year. Revenue, earnings and cash flow have generally been concentrated in the fourth calendar quarter due to the focus on completing sales, financing and leasing transactions prior to year-end.

5


 

Employees

At December 31, 2019, excluding our independent affiliates, we had more than 100,000 employees worldwide, approximately 47% of whose costs are fully reimbursed by clients and are mostly in our Global Workplace Solutions segment and our property management line of business within our Advisory Services segment. At December 31, 2019, approximately 12% of our employees worldwide were subject to collective bargaining agreements.

Intellectual Property

We regard our intellectual property as an important part of our business. We hold various trademarks and trade names worldwide, which include the “CBRE,” “Hana” and “Telford” marks. Although we believe our intellectual property plays a role in maintaining our competitive position in a number of the markets that we serve, we do not believe we would be materially, adversely affected by the expiration or termination of our trademarks or trade names or the loss of any of our other intellectual property rights other than the “CBRE” and “Trammell Crow Company” marks. We maintain trademark registrations for the “CBRE,” “Hana” and “Telford” service marks in jurisdictions where we conduct significant business.

We hold a license to use the “Trammell Crow Company” trade name pursuant to a license agreement with CF98, L.P., an affiliate of Crow Realty Investors, L.P., d/b/a Crow Holdings, which may be revoked if we fail to satisfy usage and quality control covenants under the license agreement.

In addition to trademarks and trade names, we have acquired and developed proprietary technologies for the provision of complex services and analysis. We have a number of pending patent applications relating to these proprietary technologies. We will continue to file additional patent applications on new inventions, as appropriate, demonstrating our commitment to technology and innovation. We also offer proprietary research to clients through our CBRE Research and CBRE Econometric Advisors commercial real estate market information and forecasting groups and we offer proprietary investment analysis and structures through our CBRE Global Investors business.

Environmental Matters

Federal, state and local laws and regulations in the countries in which we do business impose environmental liabilities, controls, disclosure rules and zoning restrictions that affect the ownership, management, development, use or sale of commercial real estate. Certain of these laws and regulations may impose liability on current or previous real property owners or operators for the cost of investigating, cleaning up or removing contamination caused by hazardous or toxic substances at a property, including contamination resulting from above-ground or underground storage tanks or the presence of asbestos or lead at a property. If contamination occurs or is present during our role as a property or facility manager or developer, we could be held liable for such costs as a current “operator” of a property, regardless of the legality of the acts or omissions that caused the contamination and without regard to whether we knew of, or were responsible for, the presence of such hazardous or toxic substances. The operator of a site also may be liable under common law to third parties for damages and injuries resulting from exposure to hazardous substances or environmental contamination at a site, including liabilities arising from exposure to asbestos-containing materials. Under certain laws and common law principles, any failure by us to disclose environmental contamination at a property could subject us to liability to a buyer or lessee of the property. Further, federal, state and local governments in the countries in which we do business have enacted various laws, regulations and treaties governing environmental and climate change, particularly for “greenhouse gases,” which seek to tax, penalize or limit their release. Such regulations could lead to increased operational or compliance costs over time.

While we are aware of the presence or the potential presence of regulated substances in the soil or groundwater at or near several properties owned, operated or managed by us that may have resulted from historical or ongoing activities on those properties, we are not aware of any material noncompliance with the environmental laws or regulations currently applicable to us, and we are not the subject of any material claim for liability with respect to contamination at any location. However, these laws and regulations may discourage sales and leasing activities and mortgage lending with respect to some properties, which may adversely affect both the commercial real estate services industry in general and us. Environmental contamination or other environmental liabilities may

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also negatively affect the value of commercial real estate assets held by entities that are managed by our investment management and development services businesses, which could adversely affect the results of operations of these business lines.

Available Information

Our website is www.cbre.com. On the Investor Relations section of our website (https://ir.cbre.com), we post the following filings as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC: our Annual Report on Form 10-K, or Annual Report, our Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. We also make available through our website other reports filed with or furnished to the SEC under the Exchange Act, including reports filed by our officers and directors under Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act. All of the information on our investor relations website is available to be viewed free of charge.

Investors and others should note that we routinely announce financial and other material information using our investor relations website, SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts. We use these channels of distribution to communicate with our investors and members of the public about our company, our services and other items of interest. Information contained on our website is not part of this Annual Report or our other filings with the SEC. We assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements in this Annual Report whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless we are required to do so by law.

The SEC also maintains a website (www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.

Item 1A.

Risk Factors.

Set forth below and elsewhere in this report and in other documents we file with the SEC are risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the results contemplated by the forward-looking statements contained in this report and other public statements we make. Based on the information currently known to us, we believe that the matters discussed below identify the material risk factors affecting our business. However, the risks and uncertainties we face are not limited to those described below. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial (but that later become material) may also adversely affect our business.

Risks Related to our Business Environment

Our performance is significantly related to general economic, political and regulatory conditions and, accordingly, our business, operations and financial condition could be adversely affected by economic slowdowns, liquidity constraints, significant public health events, such as pandemics, fiscal or political uncertainty and possible subsequent downturns in commercial real estate asset values, property sales and leasing activities in the geographies or industry sectors that we or our clients serve.

Periods of economic weakness or recession, significantly rising interest rates, fiscal or political uncertainty, market volatility, declining employment levels, declining demand for commercial real estate, falling real estate values, disruption to the global capital or credit markets or the public perception that any of these events may occur, may negatively affect the performance of some or all of our business lines.

Our business is significantly affected by generally prevailing economic conditions in the markets where we operate, which can result in a decline in real estate acquisition, disposition and leasing activity, as well as a general decline in the value of commercial real estate and in rents, which in turn reduces revenue from property management fees and commissions derived from property sales, leasing, valuation and financing, as well as revenues associated with development or investment management activities.

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Our businesses could also suffer from political or economic disruptions (or the perception that such disruptions may occur) that affect interest rates or liquidity or create financial, market or regulatory uncertainty. For example, in 2019, continued uncertainty throughout the year about the date and the terms on which the United Kingdom would leave the European Union led to lower lease and sales volumes. Following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on January 31, 2020, ongoing uncertainty over the country’s long-term economic and trade relationship with the European Union may continue to cause market volatility and currency fluctuations and adversely impact business and consumer confidence or the economy in general, which may adversely affect business in the United Kingdom and other European businesses. These uncertainties and any perception of weakness in the British economy could not only impact the performance of commercial real estate assets located in the United Kingdom, but access to funds from investors located in the United Kingdom.

Adverse economic conditions or political or regulatory uncertainty or significant public health events, such as pandemics, could also lead to a decline in leasing volume, property sales prices, funds invested in commercial real estate assets or planned development activity, which in turn could reduce the commissions and fees we earn. During 2019, our Asia Pacific business experienced declines in leasing activity amid rising geopolitical and trade uncertainty and slowing regional economies. Furthermore, in December 2019, a strain of coronavirus was reported to have surfaced in Wuhan, China, resulting in decreased economic activity in China and concerns about a potential pandemic, which would adversely affect the broader global economy. At this point, the extent to which this coronavirus may impact the global economy and our results is uncertain, but pandemics or other significant public health events, or the perception that such events may occur, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

We also make  co-investments alongside our investor clients in our development and investment management businesses. During an economic downturn, capital for our investment activities could be constrained and it may take longer for us to dispose of real estate investments or sale prices we achieve may be lower than originally anticipated. As a result, the value of our commercial real estate investments may be reduced, and we could realize losses or diminished profitability. In addition, economic downturns may reduce the volume of  loans our capital markets business originates and/or services. Fees within our property management business are generally based on a percentage of rent collections, making them sensitive to macro-economic conditions that negatively impact rent collections and the performance of the properties we manage.

Economic, political and regulatory uncertainty as well as significant changes and volatility in the financial markets and business environment, and in the global landscape, make it difficult for us to predict our financial performance into the future. As a result, any guidance or outlook that we provide on our performance is based on then-current conditions, and there is a risk that such guidance may turn out to be inaccurate.

Adverse developments in the credit markets may harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Our investment management, development services and capital markets (including property sales and mortgage and structured financing services) businesses are sensitive to credit cost and availability as well as financial liquidity. Additionally, the revenues in all of our businesses are dependent to some extent on the overall volume of activity (and pricing) in the commercial real estate markets.

Disruptions in the credit markets may adversely affect our business of providing advisory services to owners, investors and occupiers of real estate in connection with the leasing, disposition and acquisition of property. If our clients are unable to obtain credit on favorable terms, there may be fewer property leasing, disposition and acquisition transactions. In addition, under such conditions, our investment management and development services businesses may be unable to attract capital or achieve returns sufficient to earn incentive fees and we may also experience losses of co-invested equity capital if the disruption causes a prolonged decline in the value of investments made.

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Our operations are subject to social, political and economic risks in foreign countries as well as foreign currency volatility.

We conduct a significant portion of our business and employ a substantial number of people outside of the United States and as a result, we are subject to risks associated with doing business globally. During 2019, approximately 42% of our revenue was transacted in foreign currencies, the majority of which included the Australian dollar, Brazilian real, British pound sterling, Canadian dollar, Chinese yuan, Czech koruna, Danish krone, euro, Hong Kong dollar, Indian rupee, Israeli shekel, Japanese yen, Korean won, Mexican peso, New Zealand dollar, Polish zloty, Singapore dollar, Swedish krona, Swiss franc and Thai baht. Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates may result in corresponding fluctuations in revenue and earnings as well as the assets under management for our investment management business. Over time, fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to the other currencies in which we generate earnings could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. Due to the constantly changing currency exposures to which we are subject and the volatility of currency exchange rates, we cannot predict the effect of exchange rate fluctuations upon future operating results.

In addition, we are exposed to international economic trends, foreign governmental policy actions and  the following factors that may adversely affect the performance of our business:

 

difficulties and costs of staffing and managing international operations among diverse geographies, languages and cultures;

 

currency restrictions, transfer-pricing regulations and adverse tax consequences, which may affect our ability to transfer capital and profits;

 

adverse changes in regulatory or tax requirements and regimes or uncertainty about the application of or the future of such regulatory or tax requirements and regimes;

 

responsibility for complying with numerous, potentially conflicting and frequently complex and changing laws in multiple jurisdictions, e.g., with respect to data protection, privacy regulations, corrupt practices, embargoes, trade sanctions, employment and licensing;

 

the impact of regional or country-specific business cycles and economic instability, including those related to public health or safety events;

 

greater difficulty in collecting accounts receivable in some geographic regions, such as Asia;

 

a tendency for clients to delay payments in some European and Asian countries;

 

political and economic instability in certain countries;

 

foreign ownership restrictions in certain countries, particularly in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, or the risk that such restrictions will be adopted in the future; and

 

changes in laws or policies governing foreign trade or investment and use of foreign operations or workers, and any negative sentiments towards multinational companies as a result of any such changes to laws or policies or due to trends such as political populism and economic nationalism.

We maintain anti-corruption and anti-money-laundering compliance programs throughout the company as well as programs designed to enable us to comply with any potential government economic sanctions, embargoes or other import/export controls. However, coordinating our activities to deal with the broad range of complex legal and regulatory environments in which we operate presents significant challenges. We may not be successful in complying with regulations in all situations and violations may result in criminal or civil sanctions, including material monetary fines, penalties, equitable remedies (including disgorgement), and other costs against us or our employees, and may have a material adverse effect on our reputation and business.

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We have committed additional resources to expand our worldwide sales and marketing activities, to globalize our service offerings and products in select markets and to develop local sales and support channels. If we are unable to successfully implement these plans, maintain adequate long-term strategies that successfully manage the risks associated with our global business or adequately manage operational fluctuations, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be harmed. In addition, we have established operations and seek to grow our presence in  many emerging markets to further expand our global platform. However, we may not be successful in effectively evaluating and monitoring the key business, operational, legal and compliance risks specific to those markets. The political and cultural risks present in emerging countries could also harm our ability to successfully execute our operations or manage our businesses there.

Risks Related to Our Operations

We have numerous local, regional and global competitors across all of our business lines and the geographies that we serve, and further industry consolidation, fragmentation or innovation could lead to significant future competition.

We compete across a variety of business disciplines within the commercial real estate services and investment industry, including property management, facilities management, project and transaction management, tenant and landlord leasing, capital markets solutions (property sales, commercial mortgage origination and structured finance), flexible space solutions, real estate investment management, valuation, loan servicing, development services and proprietary research. Although we are the largest commercial real estate services firm in the world in terms of 2019 revenue, our relative competitive position varies significantly across geographies, property types and services and business lines.

Depending on the geography, property type or service or business line, we face competition from other commercial real estate services providers and investment firms, including outsourcing companies that traditionally competed in limited portions of our facilities management business and have expanded their offerings from time to time, in-house corporate real estate departments, developers, flexible space providers, institutional lenders, insurance companies, investment banking firms, investment managers and accounting and consulting firms. Some of these firms may have greater financial resources allocated to a particular geography, property type or service or business line than we have allocated to that geography, property type, service or business line. In addition, future changes in laws could lead to the entry of other new competitors, such as financial institutions.

Although many of our existing competitors are local or regional firms that are smaller than we are, some of these competitors are larger on a local or regional basis. We are further subject to competition from large national and multi-national firms that have similar service and investment competencies to ours, and it is possible that further industry consolidation could lead to much larger and more formidable competitors globally or in the particular geographies, property types, service or business lines that we serve. In addition, disruptive innovation by existing or new competitors could alter the competitive landscape in the future and require us to accurately identify and assess such changes and make timely and effective changes to our strategies and business model to compete effectively. Furthermore, we are substantially dependent on long-term client relationships and on revenue received for services under various service agreements. Many of these agreements may be canceled by the client for any reason with as little as 30 to 60 days’ notice, as is typical in the industry.

In this competitive market, if we are unable to maintain long-term client relationships or are otherwise unable to retain existing clients and develop new clients, our business, results of operations and/or financial condition may be materially adversely affected. There is no assurance that we will be able to compete effectively, to maintain current fee levels or margins, or maintain or increase our market share.

Our growth and financial performance have benefited significantly from acquisitions, which may not perform as expected and similar opportunities may not be available in the future.

Acquisitions have accounted for a significant component of our growth over time. Any future growth through acquisitions will depend in part upon the continued availability of suitable acquisition candidates at attractive prices, terms and conditions, as well as sufficient liquidity and credit to fund these acquisitions. We may incur significant additional debt from time to time to finance any such acquisitions, subject to the restrictions contained in the

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documents governing our then-existing indebtedness. If we incur additional debt, the risks associated with our leverage, including our ability to service our then-existing debt, would increase. Acquisitions involve risks that business judgments made concerning the value, strengths and weaknesses of businesses acquired may prove to be incorrect. Future acquisitions and any necessary related financings also may involve significant transaction-related expenses, which could include severance, lease termination, transaction and deferred financing costs, among others.

We have had, and may continue to experience, challenges in integrating operations and information technology systems acquired from other companies. This could result in the diversion of management’s attention from other business concerns and the potential loss of our key employees or clients or those of the acquired operations. The integration process itself may adversely impact our business and the acquired company’s business as it requires coordination of geographically diverse organizations and implementation of new accounting and information technology systems. Acquisitions also frequently involve significant costs related to integrating information technology and accounting and management services.

We complete acquisitions with the expectation that they will result in various benefits, including enhanced or more stable revenues, a strengthened market position, cross-selling opportunities, cost synergies, tax benefits and accretion to our adjusted net income per share. Achieving the anticipated benefits of these acquisitions is subject to a number of uncertainties, including the realization of accretive benefits in the timeframe anticipated, whether we will experience greater-than-expected attrition from professionals licensed or associated with the acquired companies and whether we can successfully integrate the acquired business. Failure to achieve these anticipated benefits could result in increased costs, decreases in the amount of expected revenues and diversion of management’s time and energy, which could in turn materially and adversely affect our overall business, financial condition and operating results.

Our success depends upon the retention of our senior management, as well as our ability to attract and retain qualified and experienced employees.

Our continued success is highly dependent upon the efforts of our executive officers and other key employees, including Robert E. Sulentic, our President and Chief Executive Officer. While certain of our executive officers and key employees are subject to long-term compensatory arrangements, which often include retention incentives and various restrictive covenants, there can be no assurance that we will be able to retain all key members of our senior management. We also are highly dependent upon the retention of our property sales and leasing professionals, who generate a significant amount of our revenues, as well as other revenue producing professionals. The departure of any of our key employees, or the loss of a significant number of key revenue producers, if we are unable to quickly hire and integrate qualified replacements, could cause our business, financial condition and results of operations to suffer. Competition for these personnel is significant and we may not be able to successfully recruit, integrate or retain sufficiently qualified personnel. In addition, the growth of our business is largely dependent upon our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel in all areas of our business. We and our competitors use equity incentives and sign-on and retention bonuses to help attract, retain and incentivize key personnel. As competition is significant for the services of such personnel, the expense of such incentives and bonuses may increase, which could negatively impact our profitability, or result in our inability to attract or retain such personnel to the same extent that we have in the past. Any significant decline in, or failure to grow, our stock price may result in an increased risk of loss of these key personnel. If we are unable to attract and retain these qualified personnel, our growth may be limited and our business and operating results could suffer.

If we are unable to manage the organizational challenges associated with our size, we might be unable to achieve our business objectives.

Our size and scale present significant management and organizational challenges. It might become increasingly difficult to maintain effective standards across a large enterprise and effectively institutionalize our knowledge. It might also become more difficult to maintain our culture, effectively manage and monitor our personnel and operations and effectively communicate our core values, policies and procedures, strategies and goals, particularly given our world-wide operations. The size and scope of our operations increase the possibility that we will have employees who engage in unlawful or fraudulent activity, or otherwise expose us to business and reputational risks. If we are not successful in continuing to develop and implement the processes and tools designed to manage our enterprise and instill our culture and core values into all of our employees, our reputation and ability

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to compete successfully and achieve our business objectives could be impaired. In addition, from time to time, we have made, and may continue to make, changes to our operating model, including how we are organized, as the needs and size of our business change. If we do not successfully implement any such changes, our business and results of operation may be negatively impacted.

Our brand and reputation are key assets of our company, and our business may be affected by how we are perceived in the marketplace.

Our brand and reputation are key assets, and we believe our continued success depends on our ability to preserve, grow and leverage the value of our brand. Our ability to attract and retain clients is highly dependent upon the external perceptions of our level of service, trustworthiness, business practices, management, workplace culture, financial condition, our response to unexpected events and other subjective qualities. Negative perceptions or publicity regarding these matters, even if related to seemingly isolated incidents and whether or not factually correct, could erode trust and confidence and damage our reputation among existing and potential clients, which could make it difficult for us to attract new clients and maintain existing ones. Negative public opinion could result from actual or alleged conduct in any number of activities or circumstances, including handling of complaints, regulatory compliance, such as compliance with government sanctions, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, the U.K. Bribery Act and other antibribery, anti-money laundering and corruption laws, the use and protection of client and other sensitive information and from actions taken by regulators or others in response to such conduct. Furthermore, as a company with headquarters and operations located in the United States, a negative perception of the United States arising from its political or other positions could harm the perception of our company and our brand abroad. Although we monitor developments for areas of potential risk to our reputation and brand, negative perceptions or publicity would materially and adversely affect our revenues and profitability. Social media channels can also cause rapid, widespread reputational harm to our brand. Our brand and reputation may also be harmed by the actions of third parties that are outside of our control, including vendors and joint venture partners.

The protection of our brand, including related trademarks, may require the expenditure of significant financial and operational resources. Moreover, the steps we take to protect our brand may not adequately protect our rights or prevent third parties from infringing or misappropriating our trademarks. Even when we detect infringement or misappropriation of our trademarks, we may not be able to enforce all such trademarks. Any unauthorized use by third parties of our brand may adversely affect our brand. Furthermore, as we continue to expand our business, especially internationally, there is a risk we may face claims of infringement or other alleged violations of third-party intellectual property rights, which may restrict us from leveraging our brand in a manner consistent with our business goals.

Our Real Estate Investments businesses, including our real estate investment programs and co-investment activities, subject us to performance and real estate investment risks which could cause fluctuations in our earnings and cash flow and impact our ability to raise capital for future investments.

The revenue, net income and cash flow generated by our investment management business line within our Real Estate Investments segment can be volatile primarily because the management, transaction and incentive fees can vary as a result of market movements. In the event that any of the investment programs that our investment management business manages were to perform poorly, our revenue, net income and cash flow could decline because the value of the assets we manage would decrease, which would result in a reduction in some of our management fees, and our investment returns would decrease, resulting in a reduction in the incentive compensation we earn. Moreover, we could experience losses on co-investments of our own capital in such programs as a result of poor performance. Investors and potential investors in our programs continually assess our performance, and our ability to raise capital for existing and future programs and maintaining our current fee structure will depend on our continued satisfactory performance.

An important part of the strategy for our investment management business involves co-investing our capital in certain real estate investments with our clients, and there is an inherent risk of loss of our investments. As of December 31, 2019, we had committed $72.1 million to fund future co-investments in our Real Estate Investments segment, approximately $46.3 million of which is expected to be funded during 2020. In addition to required future capital contributions, some of the co-investment entities may request additional capital from us and our subsidiaries holding investments in those assets. The failure to provide these contributions could have adverse consequences to

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our interests in these investments, including damage to our reputation with our co-investment partners and clients, as well as the necessity of obtaining alternative funding from other sources that may be on disadvantageous terms for us and the other co-investors. Participating as a co-investor is an important part of our investment management line of business, which might suffer if we were unable to make these investments.

Selective investment in real estate projects is critical to our development services business strategy within our Real Estate Investments segment, and there is an inherent risk of loss of our investments. As of December 31, 2019, we had 16 real estate projects consolidated in our financial statements. In addition, as of December 31, 2019, we were involved as a principal (in most cases, co-investing with our clients) in approximately 70 unconsolidated real estate subsidiaries with invested equity of $176.5 million and had committed additional capital to these unconsolidated subsidiaries of $50.1 million. As of December 31, 2019, we also had guarantees of $21.8 million in our U.K. development business, which relate to our share of certain cost overrun guarantees of unconsolidated subsidiaries, as well as guaranteed outstanding notes payable of these unconsolidated subsidiaries in our U.S. development business with outstanding balances of $6.6 million.

During the ordinary course of business within our development services business line, we provide numerous completion and budget guarantees requiring us to complete the relevant project within a specified timeframe and/or within a specified budget, with us potentially being liable for costs to complete in excess of such timeframe or budget. There can be no assurance that we will not have to perform under any such guarantees. If we are required to perform under a significant number of such guarantees, it could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Because the disposition of a single significant investment can affect our financial performance in any period, our real estate investment activities could cause fluctuations in our net earnings and cash flow. In many cases, we have limited control over the timing of the disposition of these investments and the recognition of any related gain or loss, or incentive participation fee.

The success of our Global Workplace Solutions segment depends on our ability to enter into mutually beneficial contracts, deliver high quality levels of service and accurately assess working capital requirements.

Contracts for our Global Workplace Solutions clients often include complex terms regarding payment of fees, risk transfer, liability limitations, termination, due diligence and  transition timeframe. Further, the facilities management and project management businesses within our Global Workplace Solutions segment are often impacted by transition activities in the first year of a contract as well as the timing of starting operations on these large client contracts. If we are unable to negotiate contracts with our clients in a timely manner and on mutually beneficial terms, or there is a delay in becoming fully operational, our business and results of operation may be negatively impacted. Further, if we fail to deliver the high quality levels of service expected by our clients, it may result in reputational and financial damage, and could impact our ability to retain existing clients and attract new clients.

The success of our Global Workplace Solutions segment also requires us to accurately model the working capital needs of this business. Should we fail to accurately assess working capital requirements, the cash flow generated by this business may be adversely impacted. In addition, if we do not accurately assess the creditworthiness of a client or if a client’s creditworthiness changes during the term of the contract, we could potentially be unable to collect on any outstanding payments.

A significant portion of our loan origination and servicing business depends upon our relationships with U.S. Government Sponsored Enterprises.

A significant portion of our loan origination and servicing business depends upon our relationship with the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or Freddie Mac, collectively the Government Sponsored Enterprises, or GSEs. Numerous pieces of legislation seeking various types of changes designed to reform the GSEs and the U.S. housing finance system have been introduced in Congress including among other things, changes to the role the GSEs play in the U.S. housing finance system and the winding down or conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over a period of years. Legislation which curtails the GSEs activities and/or alters the structure or existence of the GSEs, if enacted, may result in a significant

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decrease in our loan origination and servicing revenue and could have a significant impact on our loan origination and servicing business. Further, as an approved seller/servicer for the GSEs, we are required to comply with various eligibility criteria and are required to originate and service loans in accordance with their individual program requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in termination or withdrawal of our approval to sell and service the GSEs loans. Our status as an approved seller/servicer may be terminated by the applicable GSE at any time for cause.

Our investments in our flexible workspace offering, Hana, may prove to be unsuccessful.

While we have taken a measured approach regarding our investment into our flexible workspace offering, Hana, there is a possibility that these investments will prove to be unsuccessful. Given our measured approach, we believe the impact to our overall business would not be material at this time, but we expect to continue opening new Hana locations during the course of 2020. As this product offering expands, the potential impact to our overall financial condition will increase. Should these locations be unsuccessful, we may not earn a positive return on the capital invested and we may incur future operating losses associated with the cost of operating leases required for this business.

We may be subject to actual or perceived conflicts of interest.

Similar to other global services companies with different business lines and a broad client base, we may be subject to potential actual or perceived conflicts of interests in the provision of our services. For example, conflicts may arise from our position as broker to both owners and tenants in commercial real estate lease transactions. In certain cases, we are also subject to fiduciary obligations to our clients. In such situations, our policies are designed to give full disclosure and transparency to all parties as well as implement appropriate barriers on information-sharing and other activities to ensure each party’s interests are protected; however, there can be no assurance that our policies will be successful in every case. If we fail, or appear to fail, to identify, disclose and appropriately address potential conflicts of interest or fiduciary obligations, there could be an adverse effect on our business or reputation regardless of whether any such claims have merit. In addition, it is possible that in some jurisdictions, regulations could be changed to limit our ability to act for certain parties where potential conflicts may exist even with informed consent, which could limit our market share in those markets. There can be no assurance that potential conflicts of interest will not adversely affect us.

Infrastructure disruptions may disrupt our ability to manage real estate for clients or may adversely affect the value of real estate investments we make on behalf of clients.

Our ability to conduct a global business may be adversely impacted by disruptions to the infrastructure that supports our businesses and the communities in which they are located. This may include disruptions as a result of political instability, public health crises, attacks on our information technology systems, terrorist attacks, interruptions or delays in services from third-party data center hosting facilities or cloud computing platform providers, employee errors or malfeasance, building defects, utility outages and natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. The infrastructure disruptions we may experience as a result of such disasters could also disrupt our ability to manage real estate for clients or may adversely affect the value of the real estate investments we make through our investment management and development services businesses.

The buildings we manage for clients, which include some of the world’s largest office properties and retail centers, are used by people daily. We also manage the critical facilities (including data centers) that our clients rely on to serve the public and their customers, where unplanned downtime could potentially disrupt other parts of their businesses or society. As a result, fires, earthquakes, floods, other natural disasters, building defects, terrorist attacks, mass shootings or infrastructure disruptions can result in significant loss of life or injury, and, to the extent we are held to have been negligent in connection with our management of the affected properties, we could incur significant financial liabilities and reputational harm.

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Our policies, procedures and programs to safeguard the health, safety and security of our employees and others may not be adequate.

We have more than 100,000 employees as well as independent contractors working in over 100 countries. We have undertaken to implement what we believe to be best practices to safeguard the health, safety and security of our employees, independent contractors, clients and others at our worksites. However, if these policies, procedures and programs are not adequate, or employees do not receive related adequate training or follow them for any reason, the consequences may be severe to us, including serious injury or loss of life, which could impair our operations and cause us to incur significant legal liability or fines as well as reputational damage. Our insurance may not cover, or may be insufficient to cover, any legal liability or fines that we incur for health, safety or security incidents.

Our joint venture activities and affiliate program involve risks that are often outside of our control and that, if realized, could harm our business.

We have utilized joint ventures for commercial investments, select local brokerage and other affiliations both in the United States and internationally, and we may acquire interests in other joint ventures in the future. Under our affiliate program, we enter into contractual relationships with local brokerage, property management or other operations pursuant to which we license to that operation our name and make available certain of our resources, in exchange for a royalty or economic participation in that operation’s revenue, profits or transactional activity. In many of these joint ventures and affiliations, we may not have the right or power to direct the management and policies of the joint ventures or affiliates, and other participants or operators of affiliates may take action contrary to our instructions or requests and against our policies and objectives. In addition, the other participants and operators may become bankrupt or have economic or other business interests or goals that are inconsistent with ours. If a joint venture participant or affiliate acts contrary to our interest, it could harm our brand, business, results of operations and financial condition.

A significant portion of our revenue is seasonal, which could cause our financial results to fluctuate significantly.

A significant portion of our revenue is seasonal. Historically, our revenue, operating income, net income and cash flow from operating activities tend to be lowest in the first calendar quarter, and highest in the fourth calendar quarter of each year. Earnings and cash flow have generally been concentrated in the fourth calendar quarter due to the focus on completing sales, financing and leasing transactions prior to calendar year-end. This variance among periods makes it difficult to compare our financial condition and results of operations on a quarter-by-quarter basis. In addition, as a result of the seasonal nature of our business, political, economic or other unforeseen disruptions occurring in the fourth quarter, particularly those that impact our ability to close large transactions, may have a proportionally larger effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

Our debt instruments impose operating and financial restrictions on us, and in the event of a default, all of our borrowings would become immediately due and payable.

As of December 31, 2019, our total debt, excluding notes payable on real estate (which are generally nonrecourse to us) and warehouse lines of credit (which are recourse only to our wholly-owned subsidiary, CBRE Capital Markets, and are secured by our related warehouse receivables), was $1.8 billion. For the year ended December 31, 2019, our interest expense was $103.0 million.

Our debt instruments impose, and the terms of any future debt may impose, operating and other restrictions on us and many of our subsidiaries. These restrictions affect, and in many respects limit or prohibit, our ability to:

 

o

plan for or react to market conditions;

 

o

meet capital needs or otherwise restrict our activities or business plans; and

 

o

finance ongoing operations, strategic acquisitions, investments or other capital needs or to engage in other business activities that would be in our interest, including:

15


 

 

o

incurring or guaranteeing additional indebtedness;

 

o

entering into consolidations and mergers;

 

o

creating liens; and

 

o

entering into sale/leaseback transactions.

Our credit agreement requires us to maintain a minimum interest coverage ratio of consolidated EBITDA (as defined in the credit agreement) to consolidated interest expense (as defined in the credit agreement) of 2.00x and a maximum leverage ratio of total debt (as defined in the credit agreement) less available cash (as defined in the credit agreement) to consolidated EBITDA of 4.25x (and, in the case of the first four full fiscal quarters following the consummation of a qualified acquisition (as defined in the credit agreement), 4.75x) as of the end of each fiscal quarter. On this basis, our coverage ratio of consolidated EBITDA to consolidated interest expense was 22.62x for the year ended December 31, 2019, and our leverage ratio of total debt less available cash to consolidated EBITDA was 0.44x as of December 31, 2019. Our ability to meet these financial ratios can be affected by events beyond our control, and we cannot give assurance that we will be able to meet those ratios when required. We continue to monitor our projected compliance with these financial ratios and other terms of our credit agreement.

A breach of any of these restrictive covenants or the inability to comply with the required financial ratios could result in a default under our debt instruments. If any such default occurs, the lenders under our credit agreement may elect to declare all outstanding borrowings, together with accrued interest and other fees, to be immediately due and payable. The lenders under our credit agreement also have the right in these circumstances to terminate any commitments they have to provide further borrowings. In addition, a default under our credit agreement could trigger a cross default or cross acceleration under our other debt instruments.

In July 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (the authority that regulates LIBOR) announced it intends to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee, or ARRC, has proposed that the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR, is the rate that represents best practice as the alternative to USD-LIBOR for use in derivatives and other financial contracts that are currently indexed to USD-LIBOR. ARRC has proposed a paced market transition plan to SOFR from USD-LIBOR and organizations are currently working on industry wide and company specific transition plans as it relates to derivatives and cash markets exposed to USD-LIBOR. Establishing a replacement rate for LIBOR in this manner may result in interest obligations which are more than or do not otherwise correlate over time with the payments that would have been made on our debt if LIBOR was available in its current form.

We have limited restrictions on the amount of additional recourse debt we are able to incur, which may intensify the risks associated with our leverage, including our ability to service our indebtedness. In addition, in the event of a credit-ratings downgrade, our ability to borrow and the costs of such borrowings could be adversely affected.

Subject to the maximum amounts of indebtedness permitted by our credit agreement covenants, we are not restricted in the amount of additional recourse debt we are able to incur, and so we may in the future incur such indebtedness in order to finance our operations and investments. In addition, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, rate our significant outstanding debt. These ratings, and any downgrades of them, may affect our ability to borrow as well as the costs of our current and future borrowings.

Risks Related to our Information Technology, Cybersecurity and Data Protection

Failure to maintain and execute information technology strategies and ensure that our employees adapt to changes in technology could materially and adversely affect our ability to remain competitive in the market.

Our business relies heavily on information technology, including solutions provided by third parties, to deliver services that meet the needs of our clients. If we are unable to effectively execute or maintain our information technology strategies or adopt new technologies and processes relevant to our service platform, our ability to deliver high-quality services may be materially impaired. In addition, we make significant investments in new systems and tools to achieve competitive advantages and efficiencies. Implementation of such investments in information technology could exceed estimated budgets and we may experience challenges that prevent new strategies or

16


 

technologies from being realized according to anticipated schedules. If we are unable to maintain current information technology and processes or encounter delays, or fail to exploit new technologies, then the execution of our business plans may be disrupted. Similarly, our employees require effective tools and techniques to perform functions integral to our business. Failure to successfully provide such tools and systems, or ensure that employees have properly adopted them, could materially and adversely impact our ability to achieve positive business outcomes.

Failure to maintain the security of our information and technology networks, including personally identifiable and client information, intellectual property and proprietary business information could significantly adversely affect us.

Security breaches and other disruptions of our information and technology networks, as well as that of third-party vendors, could compromise our information and intellectual property and expose us to liability, reputational harm and significant remediation costs, which could cause material harm to our business and financial results. In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including our proprietary business information and intellectual property, and that of our clients and personally identifiable information of our employees, contractors and vendors, in our data centers and on our networks. The secure processing, maintenance and transmission of this information are critical to our operations. Although we and our vendors continue to implement new security measures and regularly conduct employee training, our information technology and infrastructure may nevertheless be vulnerable to cyberattacks by third parties or breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other disruptions. An increasing number of companies that rely on information and technology networks have disclosed breaches of their security, some of which have involved sophisticated and highly targeted attacks on portions of their websites or infrastructure. The techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable, or degrade service, or sabotage systems, change frequently, may be difficult to detect, and often are not recognized until launched against a target. To date, we have not yet experienced any cybersecurity breaches that have been material, either individually or in the aggregate. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to prevent any material events from occurring in the future.

We are subject to numerous laws and regulations designed to protect sensitive information, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, China’s Cyber Security Law, various U.S. federal and state laws governing the protection of health or other personally identifiable information, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, and data privacy and cybersecurity laws in other regions. These laws and regulations are increasing in complexity and number, change frequently and increasingly conflict among the various countries in which we operate, which has resulted in greater compliance risk and cost for us.

A significant actual or potential theft, loss, corruption, exposure, fraudulent use or misuse of client, employee or other personally identifiable or proprietary business data, whether by third parties or as a result of employee malfeasance or otherwise, non-compliance with our contractual or other legal obligations regarding such data or intellectual property or a violation of our privacy and security policies with respect to such data could result in significant remediation and other costs, fines, litigation or regulatory actions against us. Such an event could additionally disrupt our operations and the services we provide to clients, harm our relationships with contractors and vendors, damage our reputation, result in the loss of a competitive advantage, impact our ability to provide timely and accurate financial data and cause a loss of confidence in our services and financial reporting, which could adversely affect our business, revenues, competitive position and investor confidence. Additionally, we rely on third parties to support our information and technology networks, including cloud storage solution providers, and as a result have less direct control over our data and information technology systems. Such third parties are also vulnerable to security breaches and compromised security systems, for which we may not be indemnified and which could materially adversely affect us and our reputation.

Interruption or failure of our information technology, communications systems or data services could impair our ability to provide our services effectively, which could damage our reputation and materially harm our operating results.

Our business requires the continued operation of information technology and communication systems and network infrastructure. Our ability to conduct our global business may be materially adversely affected by disruptions to these systems or our infrastructure. Our information technology and communications systems are

17


 

vulnerable to damage or disruption from fire, power loss, telecommunications failure, system malfunctions, computer viruses, cyberattacks, natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, acts of war or terrorism, employee errors or malfeasance, or other events which are beyond our control. With respect to cyberattacks and viruses, these pose growing threats to many companies, and we have been a target and may continue to be a target of such threats, which could expose us to liability, reputational harm and significant remediation costs and cause material harm to our business and financial results. In addition, the operation and maintenance of these systems and networks is in some cases dependent on third-party technologies, systems and service providers for which there is no certainty of uninterrupted availability. Any of these events could cause system interruption, delays and loss, corruption or exposure of critical data or intellectual property and may also disrupt our ability to provide services to or interact with our clients, contractors and vendors, and we may not be able to successfully implement contingency plans that depend on communication or travel. Furthermore, while we have certain business interruption insurance coverage and various contractual arrangements that can serve to mitigate costs, damages and liabilities, any such event could result in substantial recovery and remediation costs and liability to customers, business partners and other third parties. We have business continuity and disaster recovery plans and backup systems to reduce the potentially adverse effect of such events, but our disaster recovery planning may not be sufficient and cannot account for all eventualities, and a catastrophic event that results in the destruction or disruption of any of our data centers or our critical business or information technology systems could severely affect our ability to conduct normal business operations, and as a result, our future operating results could be materially adversely affected.

Our business relies heavily on the use of commercial real estate data. A portion of this data is purchased or licensed from third-party providers for which there is no certainty of uninterrupted availability. A disruption of our ability to provide data to our professionals and/or our clients or an inadvertent exposure of proprietary data could damage our reputation and competitive position, and our operating results could be adversely affected.

Legal and Regulatory Related Risks

We are subject to various litigation and regulatory risks and may face financial liabilities and/or damage to our reputation as a result of litigation or regulatory proceedings.

Our businesses are exposed to various litigation and regulatory risks, especially within our valuations business. Although we maintain insurance coverage for most of this risk, insurance coverage is unavailable at commercially reasonable pricing for certain types of exposures. Additionally, our insurance policies may not cover us in the event of grossly negligent or intentionally wrongful conduct. Accordingly, an adverse result in a litigation against us, or a lawsuit that results in a substantial legal liability for us (and particularly a lawsuit that is not insured), could have a disproportionate and material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, an adverse result in regulatory proceedings, if applicable, could result in fines or other liabilities or adversely impact our operations. In addition, we depend on our business relationships and our reputation for high-caliber professional services to attract and retain clients. As a result, allegations against us, or the announcement of a regulatory investigation involving us, irrespective of the ultimate outcome of that allegation or investigation, may harm our professional reputation and as such materially damage our business and its prospects.

Our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely affected by new laws or regulations or by changes in existing laws or regulations or the application thereof. If we fail to comply with laws and regulations applicable to us, or make incorrect determinations in complex tax regimes, we may incur significant financial penalties.

We are subject to numerous federal, state, local and non-U.S. laws and regulations specific to the services we perform in our business. Brokerage of real estate sales and leasing transactions and the provision of property management and valuation services require us and our employees to maintain applicable licenses in each U.S. state and certain non-U.S. jurisdictions in which we perform these services. If we and our employees fail to maintain our licenses or conduct these activities without a license, or violate any of the regulations covering our licenses, we may be required to pay fines (including treble damages in certain states) or return commissions received or have our licenses suspended or revoked. A number of our services, including the services provided by our indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries, CBRE Capital Markets and CBRE Global Investors, are subject to regulation by the SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, or other self-regulatory organizations and state securities regulators and compliance failures or regulatory action could adversely affect our business. We could be subject to

18


 

disciplinary or other actions in the future due to claimed noncompliance with these regulations, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations and profitability.

We are also subject to laws of broader applicability, such as tax, securities, environmental, employment laws and anti-bribery, anti-money laundering and corruption laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, occupational health and safety regulations, U.S. state wage-and-hour laws, the U.S. FCPA and the U.K. Bribery Act. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in the imposition of significant fines by governmental authorities, awards of damages to private litigants and significant amounts paid in legal fees or settlements of these matters.

As the size and scope of our business has increased significantly, both the difficulty of ensuring compliance with numerous licensing and other regulatory requirements and the possible loss resulting from non-compliance have increased. The global economic crisis resulted in increased government and legislative activity and we expect that we will continue to see the introduction of new legislation and additional changes to rules and regulations in the future. New or revised legislation or regulations applicable to our business, both within and outside of the United States, as well as changes in administrations or enforcement priorities may have an adverse effect on our business, including increasing the costs of regulatory compliance or preventing us from providing certain types of services in certain jurisdictions or in connection with certain transactions or clients. We are unable to predict how any of these new laws, rules, regulations and proposals will be implemented or in what form, or whether any additional or similar changes to laws or regulations, including the interpretation or implementation thereof, will occur in the future. Any such action could affect us in substantial and unpredictable ways and could have an adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We also operate in many jurisdictions with complex and varied tax regimes, and are subject to different forms of taxation resulting in a variable effective tax rate. In addition, from time to time we engage in transactions across different tax jurisdictions. Due to the different tax laws in the many jurisdictions where we operate, we are often required to make subjective determinations. The tax authorities in the various jurisdictions where we carry on business may not agree with the determinations that are made by us with respect to the application of tax law. Such disagreements could result in disputes and, ultimately, in the payment of additional funds to the government authorities in the jurisdictions where we carry on business, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition, changes in tax rules or the outcome of tax assessments and audits could have an adverse effect on our results in any particular quarter.

We may be subject to environmental liability as a result of our role as a property or facility manager or developer of real estate.

Various laws and regulations impose liability on real property owners or operators for the cost of investigating, cleaning up or removing contamination caused by hazardous or toxic substances at a property. In our role as a property or facility manager or developer, we could be held liable as an operator for such costs. This liability may be imposed without regard to the legality of the original actions and without regard to whether we knew of, or were responsible for, the presence of the hazardous or toxic substances. If we fail to disclose environmental issues, we could also be liable to a buyer or lessee of a property. If we incur any such liability, our business could suffer significantly as it could be difficult for us to develop or sell such properties, or borrow funds using such properties as collateral. In the event of a substantial liability, our insurance coverage might be insufficient to pay the full damages, or the scope of available coverage may not cover certain of these liabilities. Additionally, liabilities incurred to comply with more stringent future environmental requirements could adversely affect any or all of our lines of business.

19


 

Risks Related to our Internal Controls and Accounting Policies

If we are unable to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and our results of operations and stock price could be adversely affected.

The accuracy of our financial reporting is dependent on the effectiveness of our internal controls. We are required to provide a report from management to our stockholders on our internal control over financial reporting that includes an assessment of the effectiveness of these controls. As disclosed in Part II, Item 9A, during the fourth quarter of 2019, management identified several material weaknesses in internal control related to our Global Workplace Solutions segment in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region, or GWS EMEA. Management concluded that during 2019, as GWS EMEA increased in complexity and grew in both size and scale, management did not prioritize an appropriate level of oversight, a sufficient number of capable resources or training for control preparers and reviewers to address internal controls over financial reporting. As a result, even though a material misstatement was not identified in the GWS EMEA financial statements, it was determined that there was a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement in the GWS EMEA financial statements would not have been prevented or detected on a timely basis and, therefore, management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of December 31, 2019. We are committed to remediating the GWS EMEA material weaknesses in a timely manner and have begun the process of executing remediation plans. These measures will result in additional administrative expenses related to enhanced training and hiring of additional personnel. Internal control over financial reporting has inherent limitations, including human error, the possibility that controls could be circumvented or become inadequate because of changed conditions, and fraud. Because of these inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting might not prevent or detect all misstatements or fraud. If we are unable to remediate the material weaknesses in a timely manner, or are otherwise unable to maintain and execute adequate internal control over financial reporting or implement required new or improved controls that provide reasonable assurance of the reliability of the financial reporting and preparation of our financial statements for external use, we could suffer harm to our reputation, incur incremental compliance costs, fail to meet our public reporting requirements on a timely basis, be unable to properly report on our business and our results of operations, or be required to restate our financial statements, and our results of operations, our stock price and our ability to obtain new business could be materially adversely affected.

Our goodwill and other intangible assets could become impaired, which may require us to take significant non-cash charges against earnings.

Under current accounting guidelines, we must assess, at least annually and potentially more frequently, whether the value of our goodwill and other intangible assets has been impaired. Any impairment of goodwill or other intangible assets as a result of such analysis would result in a non-cash charge against earnings, and such charge could materially adversely affect our reported results of operations, stockholders’ equity and our stock price. A significant and sustained decline in our future cash flows, a significant adverse change in the economic environment, slower growth rates or if our stock price falls below our net book value per share for a sustained period, could result in the need to perform additional impairment analysis in future periods. If we were to conclude that a future write-down of goodwill or other intangible assets is necessary, then we would record such additional charges, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations.

Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “should,” “propose,” “continue,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “will” and similar terms and phrases are used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to identify forward-looking statements. Except for historical information contained herein, the matters addressed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are forward-looking statements. These statements relate to analyses and other information based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. These statements also relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies.

20


 

These forward-looking statements are made based on our management’s expectations and beliefs concerning future events affecting us and are subject to uncertainties and factors relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. These uncertainties and factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those matters expressed in or implied by these forward-looking statements.

The following factors are among those, but are not only those, that may cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements:

 

disruptions in general economic, political and regulatory conditions, particularly in geographies or industry sectors where our business may be concentrated;

 

volatility or adverse developments in the securities, capital or credit markets, interest rate increases and conditions affecting the value of real estate assets, inside and outside the United States;

 

poor performance of real estate investments or other conditions that negatively impact clients’ willingness to make real estate or long-term contractual commitments and the cost and availability of capital for investment in real estate;

 

foreign currency fluctuations and changes in currency restrictions, trade sanctions and import-export and transfer pricing rules;

 

changes in U.S. and international law and regulatory environments (including relating to anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, trade sanctions, tariffs, currency controls and other trade control laws), particularly in Asia, Africa, Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, due to the level of political instability in those regions;

 

our ability to compete globally, or in specific geographic markets or business segments that are material to us;

 

our ability to identify, acquire and integrate accretive businesses;

 

costs and potential future capital requirements relating to businesses we may acquire;

 

integration challenges arising out of companies we may acquire;

 

our ability to retain and incentivize key personnel;

 

our ability to manage organizational challenges associated with our size;

 

negative publicity or harm to our brand and reputation;

 

increases in unemployment and general slowdowns in commercial activity;

 

trends in pricing and risk assumption for commercial real estate services;

 

the effect of significant changes in capitalization rates across different property types;

 

a reduction by companies in their reliance on outsourcing for their commercial real estate needs, which would affect our revenues and operating performance;

 

client actions to restrain project spending and reduce outsourced staffing levels;

 

declines in lending activity of U.S. Government Sponsored Enterprises, regulatory oversight of such activity and our mortgage servicing revenue from the commercial real estate mortgage market;

 

our ability to further diversify our revenue model to offset cyclical economic trends in the commercial real estate industry;

 

our ability to attract new user and investor clients;

 

our ability to retain major clients and renew related contracts;

 

our ability to leverage our global services platform to maximize and sustain long-term cash flow;

21


 

 

our ability  to continue investing in our platform and client service offerings;

 

our ability to maintain expense discipline;

 

the emergence of disruptive business models and technologies;

 

the ability of our investment management business to maintain and grow assets under management and achieve desired investment returns for our investors, and any potential related litigation, liabilities or reputational harm possible if we fail to do so;

 

our ability to manage fluctuations in net earnings and cash flow, which could result from poor performance in our investment programs, including our participation as a principal in real estate investments;

 

our leverage under our debt instruments as well as the limited restrictions therein on our ability to incur additional debt, and the potential increased borrowing costs to us from a credit-ratings downgrade;

 

the ability of CBRE Capital Markets to periodically amend, or replace, on satisfactory terms, the agreements for its warehouse lines of credit;

 

variations in historically customary seasonal patterns that cause our business not to perform as expected;

 

litigation and its financial and reputational risks to us;

 

our exposure to liabilities in connection with real estate advisory and property management activities and our ability to procure sufficient insurance coverage on acceptable terms;

 

liabilities under guarantees, or for construction defects, that we incur in our development services business;

 

our and our employees’ ability to execute on, and adapt to, information technology strategies and trends;

 

cybersecurity threats or other threats to our information technology networks, including the potential misappropriation of assets or sensitive information, corruption of data or operational disruption;

 

our ability to comply with laws and regulations related to our global operations, including real estate licensure, tax, labor and employment laws and regulations, as well as the anti-corruption laws and trade sanctions of the U.S. and other countries;

 

changes in applicable tax or accounting requirements;

 

any inability for us to implement and maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting;

 

the effect of implementation of new accounting rules and standards or the impairment of our goodwill and intangible assets; and

 

the other factors described elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, included under the headings “Risk Factors”, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies,” “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk” or as described in the other documents and reports we file with the SEC.

Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statements are made. You should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking information, except to the extent required by applicable securities laws. If we do update one or more forward-looking statements, no inference should be drawn that we will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning these and other risks and uncertainties is contained in our other periodic filings with the SEC.

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

22


 

Item 2.

Properties.

As of December 31, 2019, we occupied offices, excluding affiliates, in the following geographical regions:

 

 

 

Sales

Offices

 

 

Corporate

Offices

 

 

Total

 

Americas

 

 

255

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

258

 

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

 

 

182

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

183

 

Asia Pacific

 

 

95

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

96

 

Total

 

 

532

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

537

 

 

Some of our offices house employees from more than one of our business segments (i.e. an office might house employees from all three of our business segments). As such, we have provided above office totals by geographic region rather than by business segment in order to avoid double counting or triple counting our offices.

In general, these leased offices are fully utilized. The most significant terms of the leasing arrangements for our offices are the length of the lease and the rent. Our leases have terms varying in duration. The rent payable under our office leases varies significantly from location to location as a result of differences in prevailing commercial real estate rates in different geographic locations. Our management believes that no single office lease is material to our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, we believe there is adequate alternative office space available at acceptable rental rates to meet our needs, although adverse movements in rental rates in some markets may negatively affect our profits in those markets when we enter into new leases.

We do not own any of these offices.

Item 3.

We are a party to a number of pending or threatened lawsuits arising out of, or incident to, our ordinary course of business. We believe that any losses in excess of the amounts accrued therefore as liabilities on our financial statements are unlikely to be significant, but litigation is inherently uncertain and there is the potential for a material adverse effect on our financial statements if one or more matters are resolved in a particular period in an amount materially in excess of what we anticipated.

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

23


 

PART II

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Stock Price Information

Our Class A common stock has traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CBRE” since March 19, 2018. Prior to that, from June 10, 2004 to March 18, 2018, our Class A common stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the “CBG” symbol.

As of February 14, 2020, there were 52 stockholders of record of our Class A common stock.

Dividend Policy

We have not declared or paid any cash dividends on any class of our common stock since our inception on February 20, 2001, and we do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance future growth and possibly reduce debt or repurchase shares of our common stock. Any future determination to pay cash dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our financial condition, acquisition or other opportunities to invest capital, results of operations, capital requirements and other factors that the board of directors deems relevant.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Open market share repurchase activity during the three months ended December 31, 2019 was as follows (dollars in thousands, except per share amounts):

 

Period

 

Total Number

of Shares

Purchased

 

 

Average

Price Paid

per Share

 

 

Total Number

of Shares

Purchased

as Part of

Publicly

Announced

Plans or

Programs

 

 

Approximate

Dollar Value

of Shares

That May

Yet Be

Purchased

Under the

Plans or

Programs (1)

 

October 1, 2019 - October 31, 2019

 

 

1,003,485

 

 

$

50.85

 

 

 

1,003,485

 

 

 

 

 

November 1, 2019 - November 30, 2019

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

1,003,485

 

 

$

50.85

 

 

 

1,003,485

 

 

$

400,000

 

 

(1)

In February 2019, our board of directors authorized a new program for the company to repurchase up to $300.0 million of our Class A common stock over three years, effective March 11, 2019. In both August and November 2019, our board of directors authorized an additional $100.0 million under our new program, bringing the total authorized amount under the new program to a total of $500.0 million. The remaining $400.0 million in the table represents the amount available to repurchase shares under the authorized repurchase program as of December 31, 2019.

Our repurchase programs do not obligate us to acquire any specific number of shares. Under these programs, shares may be repurchased in privately negotiated and/or open market transactions, including under plans complying with Rule 10b5-1 under the Exchange Act. The timing of any future repurchases and the actual amounts repurchased will depend on a variety of factors, including the market price of our common stock, general market and economic conditions and other factors.

24


 

Equity Compensation Plan Information

The following table summarizes information about our equity compensation plans as of December 31, 2019. All outstanding awards relate to our Class A common stock.

 

 

 

Number of

Securities to be

Issued upon

Exercise of

Outstanding

Options, Warrants

and Rights

 

 

Weighted-average

Exercise Price of

Outstanding

Options, Warrants

and Rights

 

 

Number of

Securities

Remaining Available  for

Future Issuance under

Equity Compensation

Plans (Excluding

Securities Reflected

in Column ( a ))

 

 

 

( a )

 

 

( b )

 

 

( c )

 

Equity compensation plans approved by

   security holders (1)

 

 

10,309,128

 

 

$

 

 

 

7,538,712

 

Equity compensation plans not approved

   by security holders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

10,309,128

 

 

$

 

 

 

7,538,712

 

 

(1)

Consists of restricted stock units, or RSUs, issued under our 2019 Equity Incentive Plan, or the 2019 Plan, our 2017 Equity Incentive Plan, or the 2017 Plan, and our 2012 Equity Incentive Plan, or the 2012 Plan. Our 2012 Plan terminated in May 2017 in connection with the adoption of the 2017 Plan. Our 2017 Plan terminated in May 2019 in connection with the adoption of the 2019 Plan. We cannot issue any further awards under both the 2017 Plan and the 2012 Plan.

In addition:

 

The figures in the foregoing table include:

 

o

6,209,669 RSUs that are performance vesting in nature, with the figures in the table reflecting the maximum number of RSUs that may be issued if all performance-based targets are satisfied and

 

o

4,099,459 RSUs that are time vesting in nature.

Stock Performance Graph

The following graph shows our cumulative total stockholder return for the period beginning December 31, 2014 and ending on December 31, 2019. The graph also shows the cumulative total returns of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index, or S&P 500 Index, in which we are included, and two industry peer groups.

The comparison below assumes $100 was invested on December 31, 2014 in our Class A common stock and in each of the indices shown and assumes that all dividends were reinvested. Our stock price performance shown in the following graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance. The 2019 industry peer group is comprised of JLL, a global commercial real estate services company publicly traded in the United States, as well as the following companies that have significant commercial real estate or real estate capital markets businesses within the United States or globally, that in each case are publicly traded in the United States or abroad: Colliers International Group Inc. (CIGI), Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. (CWK) , ISS A/S (ISS), Marcus & Millichap, Inc. (MMI), Newmark Group Inc. (NMRK), Savills plc (SVS.L, traded on the London Stock Exchange), Sodexo S.A. (SW.PA) and Walker & Dunlop, Inc. (WD). These companies are or include divisions with business lines reasonably comparable to some or all of ours, and which represent our current primary competitors. In 2019, we elected to remove HFF, L.P. from our peer group (given JLL acquired them) and replaced it with SW.PA.

 

 

25


 

 

 

12/31/14

 

12/15

 

12/16

 

12/17

 

12/18

 

12/19

 

CBRE Group, Inc.

 

100.00

 

 

100.96

 

 

91.94

 

 

126.45

 

 

116.91

 

 

178.95

 

S&P 500

 

100.00

 

 

101.38

 

 

113.51

 

 

138.29

 

 

132.23

 

 

173.86

 

2018 Peer Group

 

100.00

 

 

120.09

 

 

97.31

 

 

133.11

 

 

105.56

 

 

137.39

 

2019 Peer Group

 

100.00

 

 

111.30

 

 

109.75

 

 

140.04

 

 

110.26

 

 

138.59

 

 

(1)

$100 invested on 12/31/13 in stock or index-including reinvestment of dividends.

Fiscal year ending December 31.

(2)

Copyright© 2020 Standard & Poor’s, a division of S&P Global. All rights reserved.

This graph shall not be deemed incorporated by reference by any general statement incorporating by reference this Annual Report on Form 10-K into any filing under the Securities Act or under the Exchange Act, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate this information by reference therein, and shall not otherwise be deemed filed under the Securities Act or under the Exchange Act.

26


 

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data.

The following table sets forth our selected historical consolidated financial information for each of the five years in the period ended December 31, 2019. The statement of operations data, the statement of cash flows data and the other data for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 and the balance sheet data as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 were derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (Annual Report). The statement of operations data, the statement of cash flows data and the other data for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, and the balance sheet data as of December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 were derived from our audited consolidated financial statements that are not included in this Annual Report.

The selected financial data presented below is not necessarily indicative of results of future operations and should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the information included under the headings “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this Annual Report (dollars in thousands, except share data).

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2019 (1)

 

 

 

2018

 

 

 

2017

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2015 (2)

 

STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS DATA:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

$

23,894,091

 

 

$

21,340,088

 

 

$

18,628,787

 

 

$

17,369,108

 

 

$

10,855,810

 

Operating income

 

 

1,259,875

 

 

 

1,087,989

 

 

 

1,078,682

 

 

 

816,831

 

 

 

835,944

 

Interest expense, net of interest income

 

 

85,754

 

 

 

98,685

 

 

 

126,961

 

 

 

136,800

 

 

 

112,569

 

Write-off of financing costs on extinguished debt

 

 

2,608

 

 

 

27,982

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,685

 

Net income

 

 

1,291,450

 

 

 

1,065,948

 

 

 

703,576

 

 

 

585,170

 

 

 

558,877

 

Net income attributable to non-controlling interests

 

 

9,093

 

 

 

2,729

 

 

 

6,467

 

 

 

12,091

 

 

 

11,745

 

Net income attributable to CBRE Group, Inc.

 

 

1,282,357

 

 

 

1,063,219

 

 

 

697,109

 

 

 

573,079

 

 

 

547,132

 

Income per share attributable to CBRE Group, Inc. (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic income per share

 

$

3.82

 

 

$

3.13

 

 

$

2.06

 

 

$

1.71

 

 

$

1.64

 

Diluted income per share

 

 

3.77

 

 

 

3.10

 

 

 

2.05

 

 

 

1.69

 

 

 

1.63

 

Weighted average shares:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

335,795,654

 

 

 

339,321,056

 

 

 

337,658,017

 

 

 

335,414,831

 

 

 

332,616,301

 

Diluted

 

 

340,522,871

 

 

 

343,122,741

 

 

 

340,783,556

 

 

 

338,424,563

 

 

 

336,414,856

 

 

 

STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS DATA (4):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

$

1,223,380

 

 

$

1,131,249

 

 

$

894,411

 

 

$

616,985

 

 

$

651,897

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

 

(721,024

)

 

 

(560,684

)

 

 

(302,600

)

 

 

(150,524

)

 

 

(1,618,959

)

Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities

 

 

(271,949

)

 

 

(506,600

)

 

 

(627,742

)

 

 

(220,677

)

 

 

789,548