The Real Deal National

In addition to building its own tech, Keller Williams is going on an acquisition spree

Aggressive strategy revealed with Q1 earnings
May 17, 2019 03:49PM

Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller (Credit: iStock)

Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller (Credit: iStock)

As Keller Williams pushes forward with its new focus on tech — launching a new iBuyer program and seeking to copy its competitors — the franchise also hopes to get an extra boost by scooping up other firms.

The Austin-based brokerage revealed that it was pursuing an aggressive merger and acquisition strategy in its first-quarter 2019 earnings report, according to Inman.

“With our recent moves, many are thinking that we’re just building Kelle, a CRM or a marketing platform, but what we’re really marching toward is a seamless transaction,” Keller Williams president Josh Team said in a statement Thursday.

“It is also why we’ve been aggressive about our tech acquisitions, purchased a mortgage company, launched an iBuyer program and are building our insurance marketplace, plus many others, so that everything works together creating one unified experience for the consumer,” Team added.

In the earnings report, Keller Williams also revealed that a sluggish housing market had put a damper on the firm’s business. The firm also revised its official agent count downward to to 157,377, after starting to account for as many as 15,000 inactive or unlicensed “ghost agents.”

Representatives for Keller Williams say that the acquisitions will complement the firm’s development of in-house technology and new product lines.

“Our criteria: If it’s faster and cheaper to buy than build a specific product or service, mold it to fit agent needs, and make it available for use as quickly as possible, then we pursue an acquisition,” Keller Williams spokesperson Darryl Frost told Inman.

Keller Williams, the largest franchise brokerage in the country, has been pushing to expand its tech platform amid aggressive poaching from rivals. Co-founder Gary Keller returned as CEO in January to lead the $1 billion drive, as The Real Deal detailed in a recent profile.  [Inman] — Kevin Sun