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The Real Deal Los Angeles

John Aaroe Group merges with SF’s Pacific Union International

Combined company will have 1,100 agents in 38 offices
By Cathaleen Chen | December 14, 2016 10:30AM

John Aaroe of John Aaroe Group and Mark McLaughlin, CEO of Pacific Union

UPDATED, 3:45 p.m., Dec. 14: John Aaroe Group is merging with one of San Francisco’s largest real estate brokerages, Pacific Union International, the two companies announced Wednesday.

The two firms will combine their operations, which will total 1,100 agents working in 38 offices across California. In 2015, their combined production reached $10.5 billion, the firms said.

Founded in 2009, the John Aaroe Group has nine locations in Los Angeles, including Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks and the Sunset Strip. The merger will help the firm expand its international reach and increase the role of technology in its operations, John Aaroe, president of John Aaroe Group, said in a release.

Three years ago, Pacific Union launched a marketing program in Beijing called Chinese Concierge to pursue marketing outreach to Chinese investors, who comprise a growing faction of both single-family and commercial buyers in L.A.

The Bay Area powerhouse firm — America’s ninth largest real estate brokerage by sales volume — also boasts a technology development initiative called Innovation Lab, which aims to streamline access to business analytic tools for real estate agents.

Under the merger, John Aaroe Group will be able to tap into both Pacific Union’s Northern California market and its Chinese market, according to a company spokesperson, but day-to-day operations will not change. No L.A. agents will be relocating to San Francisco, but they will pursue more listings up north, according to John Aaroe broker Aaron Kirman.

“The way we can work together is actually pretty great,” he told The Real Deal, especially considering L.A.’s own burgeoning tech scene that’s slowly becoming a parallel to Silicon Valley.

“Also with Asian buyers, a lot of them are looking to buy in both San Francisco and L.A., or at least looking at both cities,” he added.

Aaroe, who previously founded a firm that merged into Prudential California Realty as well as Berkshire Hathaway, told TRD in February that the company reached $2.3 billion in sales to date, with 430 agents.

“I have the DNA to be an entrepreneur and don’t play as well in the corporate world,” he said. “I love making decisions quickly and on the spot.”

John Aaroe Group joins the Mark Company, a San Francisco-based condo marketing firm, in Pacific Union’s recent string of boutique acquisitions.