Proposed sale of REcolorado to private equity firm raises alarms

The multiple listing service is one of the largest in the US. One board member who was part of a team trying to buy the MLS described being blindsided by the private equity deal.

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A surprise deal to sell one of the largest multiple listing services in the U.S. has left members reeling — and raised the specter of legal action.

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Shelly Vincent

The deal would see REColorado sold to a firm backed by private equity. Rumors of the deal surfaced Monday night on Greg Robertson’s Vendor Alley blog. Later Monday night, REColorado Vice Chair Shelly Vincent confirmed the existence of a proposed deal in an email to Inman. She said that REColorado’s owners — Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) and the South Metro Denver Realtor Association (SMDRA) — shared a letter of intent describing the proposed sale last Thursday, June 20.


Vincent added that the letter was shared 30 days after it was signed, and less than three weeks before the deal is slated to close. She also said that the “terms are very concerning to the future of REColorado, and legal action is being considered.”

Inman has reached out to DMAR, SMDRA, and various REColorado leaders and will update this story with any comments they provide. Vincent said the letter of intent describing the deal is not public.

One of the reasons the sale of the MLS came as a shock is because Vincent and others were part of a team that was in the process of trying to buy the multiple listing service from DMAR and SMDRA. The plan was to “buy back the shares and become independent, but we were given no opportunity to even compete to do so,” Vincent said.

“As of February, we had already accepted their counter when all communications involving the sale went silent,” she continued. “We had no idea there was another party this involved until we received the [letter of intent].”

REColorado describes itself on its website as the 16th largest multiple listing service in the U.S., serving more than 26,000 real estate professionals across its home state. The MLS also says it facilitates 76 percent of real estate transactions in Colorado.

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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