Brokerage in talks to merge with Town made under $1M over 36-month period

Billy Rose's divorce filings reveal financials of Beverly Hills-based the Agency

TRD New York /
Jun.June 02, 2016 03:15 PM

From the Los Angeles website: The Agency, a Beverly Hills-based luxury brokerage in talks to merge with Town Residential, made less than $1 million in net income in the 36 months ending Dec. 31, 2014, documents obtained by The Real Deal show.

The Agency posted its best year of the three in 2014, when its net income was $1.05 million, up from a loss of $432,145 in 2013. That’s according to public financial statements submitted late last year by Agency principal Billy Rose as part of his divorce from ex-wife Amy Rose.

Agency principals Rose and partner Mauricio Umansky did not respond to requests for comment on those figures, or on the ongoing talks with New York-based Town co-owners Joseph Sitt and Andrew Heiberger.

Heiberger was in Los Angeles earlier this week to discuss the potential alliance, though the results of those discussions were unclear.

Rose holds a 39.5 percent interest in the UMRO Realty Corporation, the entity operating as the Agency, which collects 20 percent of his gross commission revenue, the filings show. The remainder of his commission is reported through a personal corporation, dubbed Billy Rose Corp., of which he is the sole shareholder, the documents show. He took home $3.63 million in personal commissions over the 36-month period, plus $358,717 in net income from his ownership stake in the firm.

However, the filing noted that, for the first 10 months of 2015, Rose’s average monthly net commission revenues from the Billy Rose Corp. decreased by 52.87 percent to $80,432 from $170,650 the prior year, which signals his business has been slowing down.

The Agency had evidently been looking to up its footprint for several years before Town came into the picture.

The partners started four new businesses in 2014: The Agency New Development, of which Rose owns 42.5 percent; The Agency New Development (Bay Area) Inc., of which he owns 50 percent; The Agency RE Franchising, of which he owns 50 percent; and RULC Marketing Inc., of which he owns 50 percent.

The Agency New Development was set up to receive commissions for property the firm sold in new developments across Southern California and New Mexico, while the Bay Area company was for revenue from sales in the San Francisco Bay Area. The RULC entity specializes in the marketing of all Agency locations.

In March, the Agency hired Jason Glasgow, an alumnus of private equity firm Westbrook Partners, to lead the firm’s fledgling new development arm.

While Rose and Umansky haven’t yet made a formal franchising push, the establishment of the franchising entity in 2014 indicates a desire to take that route.

Despite its small geographic footprint, the Agency has a strong presence on the West Coast, thanks in part to Umansky’s recurring role in “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Umansky placed third on the Real Trends/Wall Street Journal list of top residential agents in 2015, with more than $604 million in self-reported closed sales. Earlier this year, he co-listed Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills for $200 million.

Meanwhile, Town closed $872.9 million in sell-side deals last year, up 65 percent from 2015, according to TRD’s most recent brokerage ranking. The firm is being sued by its former president of sales, Wendy Maitland, who accused Sitt of starving the firm of funds.

Additional reporting by Hannah Miet

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