June 1, 1996
Real estate giant HFS Inc. has completed its $ 740-million purchase of Coldwell Banker Corp., a major national deal that will also have an impact on one of Tampa Bay’s leading real estate companies.
Coldwell Banker is the second-largest player in Tampa Bay real estate. Coldwell Banker has 14 company-owned and franchised offices locally that employ about 380 people, said Mike Good, president of the company's west-central Florida division.
HFS is the nation’s largest franchiser of real estate brokerages. The purchase means Coldwell Banker’s 325 company-owned offices spread across the nation — including eight Tampa Bay offices operated by Good — will become franchises. And the six Coldwell Banker franchise offices will become HFS franchises.
“All of us are franchisees as of today,” Good said. “But other than some additional benefits that will accrue because of the size of HFS, it's life as usual,” he said.
HFS announced last month it would acquire Coldwell Banker from California’s Fremont Group, increasing its status as a Goliath in the real estate business. Based in Parsippany, N.J., HFS also operates the Century 21 and ERA real estate franchises.
HFS officials have said they will operate Coldwell Banker as just another real estate franchise, autonomous from the Century 21 and ERA operations.
“The focus in real estate is that there is about 65 percent of the industry that is not franchised,” HFS chief executive Henry Silverman told Bloomberg Business News. “Our goal is to grow internally and to get as big a piece of that pie as possible.”
Good compares HFS to General Motors Corp.
“GM has its Cadillac division, its Chevrolet division, its Pontiac division and each division is responsible for producing their own products,” Good said. “Coldwell Banker is sort of the Cadillac of HFS’ real estate brand-name divisions.”
This isn’t the first time Coldwell Banker has gotten a new owner. Before Fremont Group bought the company in October 1993, Coldwell Banker was owned by Sears, Roebuck & Co.
In addition to being the nation's biggest real estate franchiser, HFS also is the world’s largest hotel franchiser.
Formerly known as Hospitality Franchise Systems Inc., the company also operates 5,200 franchised hotels under the Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Park Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Travelodge and Villager Lodge names.