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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Pacific Union ups stake in Gibson International

SF-based giant also owns John Aaroe Group, Partners Trust
By Natalie Hoberman | December 12, 2017 05:00PM

Scott Gibson and Mark McLaughlin

It wasn’t too long ago that Pacific Union was making waves in Los Angeles, buying up boutique brokerages left and right. The San Francisco-based firm, majority-owned by financial services giant Fidelity National, has since come back for more, as The Real Deal predicted in October.

Pacific Union– which includes Partners Trust and John Aaroe Group — has now increased its stake in residential brokerage Gibson International, according to Inman. The company now holds a 55 percent controlling stake in Gibson, up from the 35 percent it acquired in 2015.

Gibson, which has about 160 agents across offices in Brentwood, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Marina del Rey, is expected to close nearly $1 billion in sales this year, according to the firm. Its co-founders, Scott Gibson and Pat Heller, will retain their combined 23 percent stake in the company.

Come January, it too will rebrand and fly the Pacific Union flag. John Aaroe Group — whose founder abruptly left in April — was the first to be acquired in late 2016. Then came Partners Trust in August of this year, with over 240 agents and seven offices. Pacific Union also acquired Contra Costa County-based Empire Realty Associates last month. Now, with a greater chunk of Gibson under its belt, the company expects to generate about $14 billion in sales for 2017.

Industry observers have questioned whether its size – now at over 50 offices and 1,600 agents – will come at a cost. Though Pacific Union had promised a decentralized management structure when it acquired JAG, John Aaroe’s retirement threw that into question. Others wonder if Fidelity, which holds a 66 percent controlling interest in Pacific Union, will exercise influence over brokerage operations.