Warren Buffett to buy Prudential within 5 years

(Courtesy of Orange County Register)
by Jonathan Lansner and Jeff Collins

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett revealed in a recent letter to shareholders that he now owns 67 percent of an operation that runs the Irvine-based Prudential Real Estate chain.

And, he said, he will “purchase the balance of those operations within five years.”

It’s the first time any details have been revealed regarding the partnership between Buffett and Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management.

Buffett and Brookfield announced in October that they were teaming up to form a new national real estate chain, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, with its headquarters in Irvine. It’s the first time the Berkshire Hathaway name will be used for a consumer brand.

According to Buffett’s March 1 letter to shareholders, Berkshire Hathaway’s existing real estate company, HomeServices of America, purchased 67 percent of the Prudential and Real Living franchise operations, which together license 544 brokerage companies nationwide.

The new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices chain will become operational later this year, with Buffett’s Prudential franchisees converting to the new brand. Other Prudential offices will have the option to change brands or continue operating under the Prudential name and, presumably, its Rock of Gibraltar logo.

Meanwhile, the new chain unveiled its colors and logos this week at the Prudential Real Estate’s sales convention in Las Vegas.

Cabernet and cream will the be official colors, the company said. The font for new yard signs, business cards, logos and the new chain’s “quality seal” will be simple and clean.

Company officials call the new look timeless, reflecting “the brand’s classic heritage.”

“The new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices logo exemplifies strength and elegance,” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices of America.

Said Earl Lee, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC, which will operate the new chain: "The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand identity is smart, distinctive and versatile for all markets and price ranges."