September 1, 2009

Buffett’s firm buys Chicago brokerage

HomeServices of America Inc. said Tuesday it had acquired Chicago real estate brokerage firm Koenig & Strey on terms that were not released.

HomeServices is an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway, owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

The purchase, the 21st acquisition for HomeServices, makes one of the premier firms within the Chicago area into an even stronger organization, said Doug Ayers, president and chief executive officer of Koenig & Strey.

It also gives HomeServices a total of 15,000 real estate agents in 21 companies operating in 20 states, the company said in a statement.

The Chicago firm has seen business fall 27 percent from 2007 to 2008, to a transaction level of $2.69 billion.

But no major changes are planned, HomeServices Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ron Peltier said, Crain's Chicago Business reported.

No job cuts are planned and Koenig & Strey's management team is expected to stay.

The only way we would enter a market is to acquire a solid company with a strong reputation, Peltier said. Our acquisition of Koenig & Strey would suggest that if (the market) hasn't stabilized, then at least we're very close.