New York Company Acquires Latter & Blum

NEW ORLEANS — Real estate company Latter & Blum has been acquired by Compass, a New York City-based real estate brokerage. The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, but a Latter & Blum spokesperson confirmed that Compass has acquired all of the New Orleans-based company’s residential and commercial operations in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

Latter & Blum reports that its roughly 3,100 agents closed $3.6 billion in transaction volume in 2023.

Lacey Merrick Conway

“At Latter & Blum, we take pride in creating life-changing opportunities and meaningful careers for agents,” said Latter & Blum CEO Lacey Merrick Conway in an April 3 press release. “This partnership enhances our commitment, providing our agents and the local community access to an expansive referral network and cutting-edge tools driving the industry forward while maintaining our local culture and expertise.

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Conway said the deal was a strategic decision that will empower its agents to win more business.

“We’re not going anywhere, and will continue leading laterally through this next chapter,” she said in a video posted to Youtube on April 2.

Later in the video, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin echoed the optimistic sentiments.

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“We’re bringing together two incredible companies,” he said. “The number-one brokerage firm in the Gulf South and the number-one brokerage firm in the United States.”

Reffkin and several partners founded Compass in 2012. The company — which touts the sophistication of its $1.5 billion tech platform — went public in 2021 just before a downtown in the industry caused by a nationwide spike in interest rates.

Compass said it is home to nearly 30,000 agents and maintains a presence nationwide in more than 150 cities. This deal gives it access to Louisiana and Mississippi for the first time.

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Real estate website said that, in 2023, Compass agents represented buyers or sellers in 178,848 transactions totaling over $186 billion in gross volume, making it one of the largest real estate companies in the U.S. The website said Compass had a 4.5% share of the total U.S. real estate market by transactions that year and generated roughly $4.9 billion in revenue in 2023 but is not currently profitable.”

Founded more than a century ago, Latter & Blum long has claimed the title of the “largest independently owned residential real estate company in the Gulf South.” The company made nearly 20 acquisitions between 2009 and 2020, when it acquired local rival Gardner Realtors and absorbed all of its agents and much of its leadership. After the deal with Gardner, Latter & Blum said it had more than 3,700 associates.

Latter & Blum Chairman Robert Merrick and CEO Lacey Merrick Conway said they will remain with the company even as it transitions to operate under the Compass brand name.

Jeffrey Doussan of Keller Williams, a competing real estate brokerage, said industry insiders were not surprised by the announcement. He said small real estate agents need an expensive technology platform and the ability to market at a global scale to stay competitive. And it’s getting harder to do that in a boutique setting.  

“This is big news, and it really isn’t news at all. It was easy to spot this coming,” said Doussan. “This is a good day for Compass, and it’s a great day for the owners Latter & Blum. Some people will love the new Compass branch. Others won’t find it a cultural fit for them. And another organization will add their talent to its ranks. That’s what happens in our industry. It’s the nature of it.”

This article was updated several times on April 4 to incorporate additional information.

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