Cushman & Wakefield’s New Chapter

In 1917, as World War I raged, much of the U.S. was transfixed by the sensational murder trial and acquittal of Blanca de Saulles, accused of killing her husband, football star and businessman John de Saulles. Little attention was paid to what was happening to Mr. de Saulles’s small New York real-estate business.

As it turned out, two brokers working at Heckscher & de Saulles wound up taking over the brokerage. Their names were J. Clydesdale Cushman and Bernard Wakefield.

Close to a century later, the firm they started, Cushman & Wakefield Inc., is one of the world’s largest real-estate services firm. Last week, news broke that it was up for sale at a price that could reach $2 billion, stoking discussions in the real-estate industry about how the brokerage business was benefiting from soaring property values.

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