Robert Reffkin on what Compass IPO means for agents: “Anything”

“We will be able to invest more in building towards the Compass Northstar,” CEO says

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Getty)
Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Getty)

More and more Compass agents are wondering what’s in store for them as telltale signs that the brokerage is planning an initial public offering pile up.

And for the first time, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin acknowledged the brokerage’s looming IPO plans in a message to its agents, a copy of which was obtained by The Real Deal.

“Many of you have asked what the benefits are to Compass agents of being a public company,” Reffkin wrote. “Being public will allow Compass to raise capital that we can invest in more tools and more support to help you.”

His memo touched on four main points on how the IPO would help Compass and its agents, including greater brand recognition, public trust, more technology and employees. He also made a sweeping promise to pour funds into “anything” that serves its agents’ businesses.

“We will be able to invest more in building towards the Compass Northstar: Anything an agent needs, Compass provides,” Reffkin wrote.

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Reffkin emphasized that he could not comment on the timing of the IPO. Compass declined to comment.

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Compass has been quietly preparing to go public for months, bringing on new board members and executives, and tapping Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as underwriters just before Thanksgiving.

The brokerage has raised $1.5 billion since 2012 from investors including Fidelity, Dragoneer and SoftBank. The involvement of the latter, famous for driving private-market valuations to stunning heights, has prompted venture capitalists and Compass’ competitors to scrutinize similarities to SoftBank’s infamous unicorn, WeWork, which nearly imploded in the aftermath of its IPO attempt last fall. Compass denied any parallels both internally and externally at the time.

Regardless, the idea of Compass’ IPO — and the public filings the process requires — is generating intense interest from critics and fans alike. And Reffkin appears enthusiastic to move forward.

“I am more excited than ever before about the future,” the CEO wrote in his sign off.

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