Wells Fargo & Co. announced Wednesday it's buying L.A.-based real estate investment banking firm Secured Capital Corp.


The San Francisco banking giant plans to merge Secured Capital with New York-based Eastdil Realty LLC, a commercial brokerage that Wells Fargo purchased six years ago for about $150 million. The new company will be re-named Eastdil Secured.


Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but sources familiar with the deal said Wells Fargo was paying between $110 million to $140 million for Secured Capital, which has been shopping itself to potential buyers for more than a year. Rumors of a pending Secured-Eastdil merger had become rampant in the last week.


Both brokerages have strong L.A. offices and it's unclear if the overlap will result in layoffs or cuts. Still, as part of the merger, Secured principals Jay Borzi and Steve Silk, both formerly with Cushman & Wakefield, would likely be asked to sign five-year contracts.


The combined firm should be better able to compete with industry leaders such as Cushman & Wakefield Inc., CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. and Grubb & Ellis Co. But rival brokers privately said the match won't necessarily lead to increased sales because clients could spread them to other firms.


Secured Capital was founded 15 years ago by several former Drexel Burnham Lambert executives to liquidate distressed property and loan portfolios for the Resolution Trust Corp. and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. after the melt-down of the savings and loan industry. Since 1998, Secured Capital has completed over 500 transactions totaling over $67 billion, according to the Wells Fargo announcement.

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