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Buffett's firm buys Prudential real estate network

Associated Press Modified: October 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm •  Published: October 30, 2012

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett's company said Tuesday that it is buying the Prudential and Real Living real estate franchise and launching a new brokerage brand for those agents.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s real estate unit is acquiring the network from Brookfield Asset Management. Berkshire's HomeServices of America and Brookfield will launch Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices next year and begin switching agents to the new firm.

Buffett said he's happy to lend Berkshire's name and financial strength to the new company, which will be based in Irvine, Calif., and be led by a team of executives from Prudential Real Estate.

"I am confident that these partners will deliver value to the residential real estate industry, and I am pleased to have Berkshire Hathaway be a part of the new brand," Buffett said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but Berkshire's HomeServices of America will be the majority owner. HomeServices already owns local brokerages with 16,000 real estate agents in 21 states.

HomeServices, which is part of Berkshire's MidAmerican Energy unit, played the lead role in the deal with Buffett offering final approval on the use of the Berkshire Hathaway name, MidAmerican spokeswoman Ann Thelen said.

HomeServices Chairman and CEO Ron Peltier said the deal gives the company a national franchise network with more than 53,000 agents to complement its local brokerages. Peltier said in an interview that he wanted to acquire a national franchise because building one would be too costly and take several years.

The Prudential and Real Living brands will be eliminated over the next couple of years.

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