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Warren Buffett to Purchase Real Estate Unit

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted October 31, 2012

In what may reasonably be interpreted as a sign of growing faith in the domestic housing market, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) is set to buy Prudential’s real estate agent network from Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE: BAM).

Berkshire and Brookfield plan to launch a new brokerage brand, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, and will transition existing agents over to the new firm.

From USA Today:

“I am confident that these partners will deliver value to the residential real estate industry, and I am pleased to have Berkshire Hathaway be a part of the new brand,” Buffett said in a statement.

Berkshire’s HomeServices of America will be the majority owner; the company already commands local brokerages providing 16,000 agents over 21 states. With the new deal, that will increase to nearly 75,000 agents and nationwide coverage.

The deal is also significant in light of Buffett’s reiterated statements affirming his trust in the resurgent U.S. housing market.

Berkshire Hathaway owns around 80 subsidiaries comprised mainly of insurance and utility businesses but also spread over railroads, clothing, furniture, and other industries.

Toronto-based Brookfield oversees more than $150 billion in utility, infrastructure, and real estate assets.