EC Harris this week played down rumours that it is about to enter a joint venture with real estate agency Cushman & Wakefield to launch a Europe-wide facilities management service.

According to reports, the two are in talks to set up an FM business that would allow Cushman & Wakefield, one of the world's biggest property agencies, to offer FM services to its European corporate clients.

In return, it is thought that EC Harris could cash in on Cushman & Wakefield's global pool of clients. The agent has offices in 58 countries around the world, employs more than 11,000 staff, and already offers FM services to its North American clients.

But a source close to EC Harris said: "The company is in talks with lots of people all the time about lots of things. I don't know what Cushman & Wakefield wants to do."

John Travers, Cushman & Wakefield's senior partner in charge of its European partnership, who is believed to be leading the discussions, was unavailable for comment.

News of EC Harris' possible tie-up comes amid a flurry of international alliance activity in the consultant sector.

Bucknall Austin recently signed up to a global alliance with QSs Rider Hunt and Levett & Bailey to expand its operations into Australasia, Asia Pacific and North America. Cyril Sweett is planning an alliance with a large Indian firm to take advantage of growth in that market.

The rumours surrounding EC Harris come two months after it poached Ted Pearce, Bank of Ireland's property director, to head its corporate real estate operations.