Business briefs: Prudential's future lies with Berkshire Hathaway

Real estate agents at Prudential Steamboat Realty were processing the news this week that they now are associated with an affiliate of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Prudential Steamboat’s name won’t change for at least a year, but there’s no doubt the words Berkshire and Hathaway will appear somewhere on their yard signs by late next year, Prudential Steamboat co-owners Pam Vanatta and Cam Boyd agreed.

Prudential Steamboat agents learned in December 2011 that Brookfield Asset Management would acquire the real estate division of the larger Prudential Insurance Company of America. They just didn’t know what their new brand would be.

This week they learned that Berkshire Hathaway’s Home Services of America had reached an agreement with Brookfield to take a majority position in the Prudential network and the Real Living network.

“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.

It’s important to understand that Prudential Steamboat, even after a name change, will remain an independently owned member of the new network, Boyd said.

Boyd added that for the time being, his office would remain in the Prudential network in addition to being affiliated with Home Services.

“Prudential, at the corporate level, just didn’t want to be in real estate any more,” Boyd said.

Home Services already owned local brokerages in 21 states linking 16,000 Realtors. The acquisition of Prudential is seen by analysts as a way to assemble quickly a network of national stature under the Berkshire Hathaway brand.

“Warren Buffett believes in the future of real estate in the U.S.,” Vanatta said. “We’re more bullish on things going forward as he is.”

She said she based some of her optimistic outlook on a growing awareness that there are serious investors in the market looking closely at some of the proposed large developments that obtained entitlements from

local government before the market collapsed in 2009 and now are beginning to appear attractive again.

Prudential Steamboat Marketing Director Paul Knowles, who just returned from a gathering of colleagues where the coming changes were a major topic of discussion, said the rebranding will be a gradual thing.

The name change “won’t happen until November” 2013, he said.

Knowles added that Prudential accounts for 35 percent of transaction and dollar volume in the local market. Vanatta said she thinks her firm can increase its share under the new network. Knowles said Brookfield brings expertise in adapting traditional agencies to the new ways in which people are searching for real estate on websites like Zillow.

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Colorado Group marketing professionals Laurie Peter, left, Jessica Lobeck and Melissa Perez accepted the Best Brand Integration Award from the Luxury Real Estate Board of Regents.

Colorado Group Realty lands marketing award

Colorado Group Realty in Steamboat Springs received the Best Brand Integration Award during the annual Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., according to a news release

The award is given to the Luxury Real Estate member or company that consistently displays the Board of Regents or Luxury Real Estate logo and brand in conjunction with its company’s brand.

Colorado Group Realty joined Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate in 1999. The brokerage is a member of the Board of Regents, the leadership body that determines the direction of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate.

“Colorado Group Realty recently underwent a rebranding initiative, which involved strengthening the marketing of our brand. Our international affiliation with Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate was one of our primary focuses,” said Laurie Peter, marketing manager at Colorado Group Realty.

Canyons owner targeting Park City Mountain Resort

The Salt Lake Tribune reported this week that Canyons Resort operator Talisker Corp. is attempting to use its position as landlord of the Park City Mountain Resort to take over the older ski area.

Going back to the early 1960s, Park City Mountain Resort and its predecessors have leased ski terrain from United Park City Mines. Talisker bought United Park City Mines in 2004.

Attorneys for Talisker argued in court this month that Park City Resort had failed to renew its lease by the expiration date of April 30, 2011.

Park City Resort filed suit in March contending that it had lived up to requirements for extending its lease of 3,700 acres of ski terrain, but the Canyons would not renew the lease.

Park City Resort claims in the suit that it has invested more than $100 million on ski lifts, lodges and facilities, about $7 million of that in 2011. The suit asks for $7 million in damages.

“Even during a down market, people are focused on making a good living and doing really good work,” she said.

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