Town Residential in late-stage talks for merger with LA brokerage: sources

The Agency is a well-known boutique firm in Beverly Hills

May.May 20, 2016 02:37 PM

Town Residential, the six-year old residential brokerage headed by Andrew Heiberger and Joseph Sitt, is in late-stage talks to merge with Beverly Hills-based brokerage the Agency, according to several people with knowledge of the negotiations.

It’s unclear what a potential merger would mean for Town’s ownership structure or its brand, but a deal would give both parties a bi-coastal presence.

Heiberger, who is CEO and co-chairman of Town, told The Real Deal that no deal was final, but confirmed that conversations were taking place, saying he was currently talking to Sitt about whether a potential deal could make sense for Town.

“We’re considering what it would mean for the merging of the brands, the overall management and the business plan,” he said.

Heiberger and Sitt have been co-owners of the firm since 2012, when Sitt was brought on board as an investor and became co-chairman. But for more than a year, rumors have swirled that Sitt was looking to exit his stake, the value of which is unclear.

Town closed $872.9 million in sell-side deals last year, up 65 percent from 2015, according to TRD’s most recent brokerage ranking. Its new development exclusives comprise projects co-developed by Sitt, who’s converting a former office building to luxury condos at 212 Fifth Avenue in partnership with Madison Equities and Building and Land Technology.

Representatives for the Agency, the high-end boutique brokerage run by L.A. brokers Billy Rose and Mauricio Umansky, were touring the offices of Town along with Bert Dweck, an executive vice president at Thor Equities, Sitt’s investment firm, TRD reported last month.

Umanksy, who has a recurring role in “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” did not respond to several requests for comment.

Despite its small geographic footprint, the Agency does significant business through a handful of top agents. Umansky placed third on the Real Trends/Wall Street Journal list of top residential agents in 2015, with more than $604 million in closed sales. In January, he co-listed the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills for $200 million.

In March, the Agency hired Westbrook Partners’ Jason Glasgow to lead the firm’s nascent new development arm. Umansky recently said he’s looking to expand the company’s footprint on the West Coast by opening three new Bay Area offices.

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