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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Amid bankruptcy, Woodbridge Group seeks broker to sell entire LA portfolio

Among its notable properties is Owlwood Estate, Sonny and Cher’s former home
March 12, 2018 05:00PM

Bob Shapiro with the Owlwood Estate (Credit: Getty Images)

The now-bankrupt luxury real estate developer Woodbridge Group of Companies is searching for a broker to help unload its entire Los Angeles portfolio.

The firm has been soliciting top brokers in the city, asking them to submit pitches detailing why they would make a good fit, according to the real estate blog, Yolanda’s Little Black Book. At least three properties are reportedly already in escrow for over $10 million, according to the blog.

Robert Shapiro, the former chief executive of Woodbridge, was accused of running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme on investors late last year. His firm filed for bankruptcy amid an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, that turned into a lawsuit.

Prior to its fall, Woodbridge acquired several of the city’s prime residential properties. Included in its portfolio is the former home of Sonny and Cher, known as the Owlwood Estate; and film producer Megan Ellison’s former 10,000-square-foot hilltop home in Mount Olympus. Woodbridge listed Owlwood for twice its purchase price — a whopping $180 million — in July 2017.

It also owns five parcels in the Hidden Hills neighborhood, along with homes in Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills.

Several Woodbridge properties were listed with Mercer Vine, the now-defunct luxury residential brokerage that was caught in the middle of the drama. Shapiro was a major Mercer Vine backer. The firm closed its doors earlier this year, and two of its co-founders, along with several agents, are now at Douglas Elliman; and other brokerages.

It’s likely Woodbridge won’t see the full return on all its investments, usually paid for at or above asking price. All Woodbridge sales will also have to be vetted by the bankruptcy court. [Yolanda] — Natalie Hoberman