Walker & Dunlop to Acquire Industry-Leading Housing Research and Investment Banking Firm Zelman & Associates

 Walker & Dunlop, Inc. announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Zelman & Associates (“Zelman”), the leading housing research and investment banking firm in the United States.

Founded in 2007 by Ivy Zelman and Dennis McGill, Zelman has earned an impressive reputation among institutional investors and business executives alike for its unbiased, in-depth research, insightful analysis and trusted advisory services. Zelman’s research is differentiated by its tenured housing experience, proprietary surveys anchored by an unparalleled network of executive-level leaders, and an acute ability to identify and synthesize developing investment and fundamental themes. The firm’s expertise spans macro, sector and company-specific trends across all areas of housing, including homebuilding, building products, demographics, multifamily, single-family rentals, mortgage finance and real estate technology and services.  Zelman also operates an investment bank, led by Tony McGill, focused exclusively on the housing sector. The Zelman team has an extensive track record in the M&A, debt and equity transaction markets, including private debt and equity placements, IPOs and secondary equity offerings, public debt underwritings, project and platform-specific capital raises, corporate valuations and buy and sell-side M&A advisory services.

Walker & Dunlop Chairman and CEO Willy Walker stated, “We are extremely excited to be joining forces with Zelman, one of the most recognizable brands in the housing industry known for high-quality research and must-read opinions on the sector. The combination of our two companies from a research and data standpoint will provide our bankers and brokers with unrivaled insight into the housing sector and local markets in support of their clients and transactions, and firmly establish Walker & Dunlop as the preeminent resource for housing investors and business leaders. The single-family and multifamily housing industries are converging within the single-family rental and build-for-rent asset classes, and Zelman’s unique research and Walker & Dunlop’s banking and brokerage operations will be a powerful combination as these asset classes are further institutionalized.”

Mr. Walker continued, “We are also incredibly excited to add Zelman’s investment banking platform to Walker & Dunlop. Investment banking is a key component of Walker & Dunlop’s Drive to ’25, and we plan to invest in the business to expand Zelman’s coverage, with a priority focus on the multifamily and single-family rental sectors.  Zelman’s reputation as an industry leading independent investment bank, and extensive experience providing M&A advisory services and capital markets solutions for billions of dollars in transactions throughout the housing sector, will be a wonderful foundation upon which to build our broader business. The addition of Zelman’s research and investment banking professionals further cement Walker & Dunlop as a trusted and valuable partner to our clients.”

Zelman Chief Executive Officer Ivy Zelman commented, “Since our firm’s founding nearly 14 years ago, the Zelman team has been unwavering in our commitment to extremely high-quality research, elite client service and the utmost integrity behind our opinions and advice. I believe that Walker & Dunlop directly aligns with these values and that our research and insights will be extremely beneficial to the company’s talented bankers, brokers and client base. In turn, we will expand our research and data analytics capabilities by gaining access to W&D’s firsthand market intelligence, management of a massive loan servicing portfolio, existing technologies, and wonderfully innovative marketing capabilities. We are excited to continue growing our housing-focused research and investment banking businesses in partnership with the #1 capital provider to the multifamily industry.”

Zelman & Associates is based in New York, NY and Cleveland, OH and has 25 employees, all of whom will join Walker & Dunlop upon closing of the acquisition. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary consents and regulatory approvals and is expected to close during the third quarter 2021.


Walker & Dunlop Appoints Donna Wells to Board of Directors


Walker & Dunlop, Inc. announced today that it has appointed Donna Wells to its board of directors as an independent director and member of the audit committee.

Ms. Wells is the Chief Executive Officer of Valencia Ventures, LLC, a strategic consulting and corporate governance firm which she founded. Previously, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Mindflash Technologies, Inc., an enterprise software company providing cloud-based training platforms to businesses. Prior to Mindflash, Ms. Wells held a number of senior marketing roles at Mint Software, Intuit, Expedia, American Express, and Charles Schwab.

Willy Walker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Donna to Walker & Dunlop’s board of directors with her deep knowledge in marketing, branding, and financial services technology.  Donna’s FinTech background, combined with her innovative marketing experience, will bring valuable insight and guidance to Walker & Dunlop’s board as we continue focusing on expanding our brand and developing innovative technologies.”

Mr. Walker continued, “Walker & Dunlop has consistently been focused on being a leader in diversity and equity in the commercial real estate industry. We are committed to adding the best and most talented diversity to our team at all levels, including our board. We believe the significant diversity of our board members, with women and minorities representing 44% of the current board, will lead to better decision-making, better outcomes, and more innovation by W&D.”

Ms. Wells sits on a number of public and private company boards including Mitek Systems, Apex Technology Acquisition Corporation, Betterment, and Happy Money. Ms. Wells received a B.S. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Stanford University. She is also a Lecturer in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.