Compass expands in Bay Area; acquires 1,300-agent brokerage

Deal to buy Alain Pinel Realtors will add 33 offices to give it 97 in region

From left: Mike Hulme, CEO of APR and Robert Reffkin, CEO of Compass (Credit: Twitter)
From left: Mike Hulme, CEO of APR and Robert Reffkin, CEO of Compass (Credit: Twitter)

Compass is tightening its grip on the Bay Area residential market.

The New York-based firm acquired Alain Pinel Realtors, adding 1,300 agents across 33 offices in Northern California, according to a statement from Compass. Inman first reported the news.

The latest acquisition comes less than a year after Compass acquired Pacific Union International, a residential real estate juggernaut on the West Coast. That San Francisco-based firm had $14 billion in sales in 2017, along with 1,700 agents and 54 offices on the West Coast, including 20 in Los Angeles.

With Alain Pinel, Compass says it will now have some 4,500 agents in California. Based in Saratoga, Calif., Alain Pinel closed more than $12 billion in sales in 2017, ranking seventh on Real Trends’ top-500 list.

In January, Compass said it would not expand into new markets in 2019, but would focus on hiring and growth in its existing markets. Last month, it acquired Hall Real Estate, a small brokerage in Palm Beach, Florida.

Since launching in the Bay Area in 2016, Compass has grown through acquisitions into a 3,000-agent brokerage over 97 offices in the region. Compass also scooped up Paragon Real Estate last year.

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Alain Pinel was active in 2018 as well, acquiring Hill & Co. and its three Bay-Area offices, which brought in $545 million in sales and about 100 brokers and agents, Inman reported.

At the time of the acquisition Mike Hulme, Alain Pinel’s president, told Inman that Compass sent the firm an email expressing interest in purchasing the company, which at the time Alain Pinel ignored.

The companies did not disclose financial details of the transaction. Robert Reffkin, Compass’ CEO, has previously said the company pays four to six times the earnings of firms it acquires.

To buy Pacific Union, Compass paid Fidelity National Financial $43 million in cash and a $27 million earn-out if the company met undisclosed metrics, according to Inman. Fidelity owned a 62 percent stake Pacific Union at the time.

Fueled by several rounds of venture capital funding totaling $1.2 billion, including from SoftBank, the privately held Compass is said to be valued at $4.4 billion. It said the Alain Pinel acquisition will give it more than 10,000 agents across 248 offices nationwide.