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Caisse makes investment in real estate services firm

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec made a C$250 million ($191 million) preferred equity investment in Toronto-based global commercial real estate services firm Avison Young (Canada) Inc., confirmed Caisse spokeswoman Cesaltine Gregorio.

Caisse, which manages C$298.5 billion in Quebec provincial pension plan and other assets, made the investment to "accelerate Avison Young's strategic growth plan," a joint news release said. The proceeds will be used to invest in acquisitions and recruit key professionals. Also, Avison Young will use some proceeds to repurchase shares from Parallel49 Equity, the firm's current private equity partner, as well as those from former principals of Avison Young and non-management founders.

As part of the transaction, the terms of which were not disclosed, CDPQ will be able to designate three of the nine members of Avison Young's board of directors.

"Avison Young's track record and experienced team speak for themselves: through a well-defined and executed business strategy, the company has grown considerably in recent years, particularly by entering international markets with strong potential," says Stephane Etroy, Caisse executive vice president and head of private equity, in the news release. "With its unique corporate culture and its long-term vision, Avison Young is an ideal partner for CDPQ, and we look forward to supporting the company as it continues to grow over the coming years."