Orange County Business Journal

Buffett’s New Real Estate Brand to Irvine

Jerry Sullivan Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Warren Buffett will attach the name of his famed holding company to a newly formed residential real estate chain that will have headquarters in Irvine.

The company is expected to take shape under terms of a deal between HomeServices of America and Brookfield Asset Management in Toronto.

HomeServices is an affiliate of Buffett’s Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway holding company. It has headquarters in Minneapolis, and operates numerous real estate offices under various brands throughout the nation.

Bookfield owns Irvine-based Prudential Real Estate as well as Real Living Real Estate chain, with headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. Prudential and Real Living combined for about $72 billion in sales last year.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed; reports from the Associated Press indicated that Buffett’s company will have a controlling interest in the venture, which will be called Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

The newly formed company will have about 1,700 offices across the U.S.

Earl Lee will be chief executive of the company. Lee served as president of Prudential Real Estate before Brookfield bought the chain last year.

The move is expected to eventually consolidate the Prudential and Real Living Real Estate brands—along with the various names of offices under the HomeServices of America banner—under the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. The changeover is expected to come gradually, as franchise agreements expire.