A sale is expected to close today of four Keller Williams Chicago offices to New Jersey-based Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
The Keller Williams offices are located in Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast and the West Loop, and all were owned by William O’Kane. Though the roughly 200-300 agents of the four offices are part of the deal, no sale price has yet been publicly disclosed.
“I am very confident that Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage will be a wonderful new home for our agents as we collectively look to the future,” O’Kane said in a Coldwell press release. “Coldwell Banker’s commitment to providing agents with the most advanced tools, technology, training, and their strong national brand presence combined with our local expertise makes this team the best in the area.”
Specific details of the acquisition are still unclear, such as whether the Keller Williams offices will remain open or be folded into Coldwell Banker’s six Chicago offices. Crain’s did report, though, that all of the office’s assets, including pending sales, will go to Coldwell Banker in the sale.
“This is a great opportunity to expand our presence in Chicago — and what better way than by joining these talented and knowledgeable sales teams,” said Fran Broude, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, in the press release. “We are excited about adding this highly reputable group of real estate professionals to our company, expanding our city team and growing our already significant market share.”
Broude added that, “Our new agents will be able to immediately utilize our comprehensive marketing programs including our enhanced online branding strategy, strong local web site and single property web site program. All of these tools, and many more, help our agents grow their business and provide outstanding, professional service to their clients. Of course, all of our agents also benefit from Coldwell Banker’s national and international network and the additional exposure this brings to their business.”
Keller Williams, which has 80,000 agents nationally and roughly 690 offices, still has nine other offices in the Chicago area, according to Crain’s. Keller Williams ranked sixth in the city in sales volume last year, according to the latest data from Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, and had a 2.6 percent market share.
Steve Murray, the president and editor of Real Trends, told Crain’s that the Keller sale is just the latest in a nationwide trend of mergers and acquisitions.
“We’re seeing it all over the country,” Murray said, who attributes a great deal of recent consolidations to the 45 percent drop in brokerage commissions that has occurred the last six years.
In just the last two years, the Chicago area has seen three major examples of that trend. Last year, Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty purchased Prairie Shore Properties in Evanston; in 2009, Chicago-based Prudential Preferred Properties merged with Rubloff Residential, creating Prudential Rubloff Properties; and just last month, Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management acquired Prudential Real Estate and the Prudential Relocation Services for a reported $110 million, an transaction that did not affect the business of Prudential Rubloff.