Sotheby’s expanding in Europe

Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates said it entered licensing agreements to expand in Germany, Italy and four other European markets, as part of a plan to grow its overseas real estate business.

The agreements come at a critical time for the Parsippany, N.J.-based Sotheby’s International, a division of Realogy Corp., as the weak U.S. dollar and tight credit in the U.S. real estate market is forcing brokers to look overseas for new buyers.

“These agreements will solidify our growth in six critically important locations throughout the coming years, and help us build significant momentum in Europe, where we are continuing to grow in key luxury markets,” said Michael Good, chief executive of Sotheby’s International, in a statement.

The agreements call for 25-year licensing deals in Hamburg and Westphalia, Germany; Venice, Italy; Greece; the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

G&G Immobilien GMBH & Co. KG will develop Sotheby’s International in Hamburg, under the name Hamburg Sotheby’s International Realty, which is slated to open in May.

NRW Immobilien GmbH has signed an agreement for Northern Westphalia under the name NRW Immobilien Sotheby’s International Realty.

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The group’s first office is set to open in May in Essen, followed by a Dusseldorf office in July.

Venice Estates signed an agreement to develop Venice Estates Sotheby’s International Realty, and will convert its existing offices to the new name by May.

First Mediterranean Investments agreed to develop the brand in Greece starting in April. The firm will operate as Greece Sotheby’s International Realty.

Corpia Group will develop the Sotheby’s International brand in Slovakia by June, under the name Corpia Sotheby’s International Realty. Corpia will also open the Czech Republic Sotheby’s International Realty Office in October.

Sotheby’s International has 9,000 sales associates in 470 offices across 29 countries.