Often a merger between two companies is looked at as a combination of disparate parts, two organizations that may not have been obvious candidates to become joined in their future business endeavors. This is especially true when the companies have been described as rivals. Not so with the 2009 merger of Telereal and Trillium. In fact, some have considered the takeover to be almost fated due to the intertwined history of the companies. That history begins with, and is heavily influenced by, the CEO of the combined entity, Graham Edwards.
The story of these two companies really begins in 2001, when Telereal was first formed. Originally, the company was set up as a joint venture between William Pears Group and Trillium. This was accomplished through a joint deal between the two parties where each invested £146 million to purchase what amount to the majority of British Telecom’s (BT) property portfolio at that time, some 6,700 properties. The Pears family then bought Trillium’s stake in 2005, creating a multi-year gap where the companies were not officially affiliated.
From the start, Graham Edwards had a large role to play in the two organizations. It was he who initiated the transaction to acquire BT’s properties that resulted in the formation of Telereal. From that point forward, Edwards served as the CEO of the company. In that capacity, he had a huge degree of influence over the direction of Telereal, helming deals that resulted in the accumulation of property and capital for the organization. But that influence was perhaps felt most largely from his role in orchestrating the 2009 takeover of Trillium by Telereal.
While the deal was ongoing, it was Edwards himself who led the negotiations with Land Securities Group Plc to acquire Trillium. Telereal Trillium was formed as a result of these negotiations and immediately became a leader in property management and outsourcing. The merger created a combined business that boasted annual revenues greater than £1 billion.
As alluded to earlier, though the deal was sweeping in its scope, it was rooted in a variety of factors shared by the two entities. One connection between Telereal and Trillium was the connection between their CEOs, Graham Edwards and Ian Ellis (FastTrack). Before they were both in their respective roles as heads of their organizations, they worked together at Telereal for five years. During that time they not only built a strong personal connection, but they also shared the same corporate culture that was in place at Telereal. Bringing aspects of that culture to Trillium when he transitioned to his CEO role there was inevitable for Ellis, and it was a move that contributed to the mutual path of the companies.
There were other commonalities between Telereal and Trillium before the merger as well. One that is especially striking is the fact that the two companies both operated out of the same building, located at 140 London Wall in the City of London. It is foreseeable that the physical proximity of the two companies helped to stoke the idea of a merger in the minds of both Edwards and Ellis.
The similarities between culture and intertwined history of the companies did more than just help foment the acquisition, it also helped to make that the process of merging the companies a relatively smooth one. Soon after the deal was finalized, the newly created Telereal Trillium went to work on integrating the various aspects of the two companies from which it was created. Two early priorities were the combination of functions such as IT and finance. The senior management team was also a focus of the transition, with priority placed on retaining the executives from both companies that could best serve the goal of the newly-formed entity.
Of course, beyond the logistical concerns associated with the creation of Telereal Trillium, Graham Edwards, in his role as CEO, was further occupied with developing the company’s strategy moving forward. This strategy developed post-merger consisted of a three-pronged approach. The first focus, as highlighted above, was on integration. The second focus was on keeping existing clients happy, a priority which the executive team knew was key to quieting any fears that quality in the business’s services might diminish. The third focus was on completing a deal. Though in this regard, Edwards was content to wait for the right opportunity and not rush into something based on timeliness rather than its value to the company.
With the strategy for the company laid out above, it is clear that the man leading the charge, Graham Edwards, had a firm understanding of the principles of modern business. To fully grasp the methodology with which he leads the Telereal Trillium, it is helpful to take a look at the experiences that have shaped him. Educated in economics at Cambridge University, he leveraged his foundation of knowledge to secure positions at many high-profile organizations in the years after his time in university. These organizations include Merrill Lynch Investment Management, where he served as a fund manager, and the BT Group Plc’s property department, where held the position of head of finance.
Edwards also served as the chief investment officer of Talisman Global Asset Management prior to his role with Telereal. During his time with Talisman, he established the company as the Pears FSA registered asset management arm. Not only did his association with Pears help lead to his position with Telereal Trillium, he also helped build the company toward its present-day tally of assets under management which exceeds £1 billion (https://www.zoominfo.com/p/Graham-Edwards/128765834).
For those who have been following Telereal Trillium since its 2009 merger, it is exciting to watch how the company continues to build on the foundation it set at that time. With a strong corporate culture informed by the leadership of those who head the organization, the large operation is constantly making deals that grow its holdings. To say that these decisions are heavily influenced by the man at the top of the company, Graham Edwards, is an understatement. It is clear to see that his insights and abilities have shaped the organization from its early days and will continue to do so for some time to come.