Japanese investment group Mitsubishi Estate Company is in talks to sell its controlling interest in Cushman & Wakefield to Italian business dynasty the Agnelli family.

Property Week’s New York correspondent Steve Cuozzo, writing in his column in the New York Post this morning, revealed the news that a deal which would see a major stake in Cushman & Wakefield change hands for $900m is close to being sealed.

It is rare for a major stake in a global agency to change hands, and the deal will only heighten speculation that the worldwide property advisory scene is set for a shake-up in the wake of CB Richard Ellis’s dash for growth in recent years.

A Cushman & Wakefield spokesperson said: `We are regularly in discussions with potential business partners. In recent months, we have evaluated opportunities with a number of firms, but no agreements have been formalized or arrived at.

`As a company policy, we never comment about rumors or speculation, particularly in relation to our corporate strategy.’

Cushman is one of five operating units of New York’s Rockefeller Group, which is wholly owned by Mitsubishi. The Agnelli wing in talks to buy the stake in Cushman is a family-owned holding company, Ifil.