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(Updated May 2016)

Merging with or acquiring another business is a significant undertaking that will leave no area of your business untouched. One must pursue a merger or acquisition with caution and proper due diligence. According to McKinsey & Company, “some 70 percent of mergers fail to achieve expected revenue synergies,” (Mergers and Acquisitions: New McKinsey Research Challenges Conventional M&A Wisdom, Strategy & Leadership, 2004 E). However, with the right set of circumstances—culture cohesion, solid leadership and management, flexible employees, deft market positioning, a copacetic economy—a merger or acquisition can be a sound decision. This field guide will assist you in enumerating the issues and considerations of a merger or acquisition. (A. Scoulas, Information and Project Specialist)

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

Quick Facts:

  • Eighty-eighty percent of firms reported that the number of mergers and acquisitions for the firm has remained the same from 2004 to 2009 and 2010 to 2015.
  • Nine percent of firms indicated that mergers and acquisitions have increased in that time period.

Source: 2015 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Real Estate Firms

  • Mergers and consolidations continued to affect about one in ten REALTORS®.
  • Eleven percent of REALTORS® worked for a firm that was bought or merged in the past two years.
  • Of the REALTORS® who worked for a firm that was bought or merged, 26% left voluntarily.
  • Of the REALTORS® who stayed on to work for a new consolidated firm, 74% say compensation remained the same, compared with 13% who say it increased.

Source: 2015 National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile

Mergers and Acquisitions: The Basics 

Strategic Management Approach to Deal With Mergers in the Era of Globalization, (International Journal of Information, Business and Management, Aug. 2014). E

A Script for Ushering Change, (Weekly Book Scan, Mar. 2013).

July/August 2012: Commercial News Round Up (REALTOR® Magazine, July 2012).

What Happened to My Managing Broker? Mergers, Acquisitions and the Managing Broker (Chicago Agent Magazine, Jun. 4, 2012).

Real Estate Brokerage Research in the New Millennium (Journal of Real Estate Literature, 2011). E

Mapping a Process for Successful Mergers (Nonprofit World, July/Aug. 2010). E

Be a Masters of Mergers and Acquisitions (HRMagazine, June 2010). E

Real Estate Merger and Acquisition Activity

West Coast Home Builder Expands East, (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 27, 2014).

Merger Expands Howard Hanna’s Commercial Footprint, (Inman, Sept. 30, 2013).

Merger Creates New Coldwell Banker Franchise in Northern California, (Inman, Jun. 2013).

Nation’s Largest Homebuilder Expands (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 15, 2012).

Real Living, Prudential Franchise Sold (REALTOR® Magazine, Oct. 29, 2012).

Due Diligence

Due diligence refers to the process of reviewing a company for potential acquisition or merger. It can include in-depth review of a company's accounting and tax records, business plan, historical performance statistics, market strategy and position, office policies, physical space, IT infrastructure, human resources, and more.

Leases: A Ticking Time Bomb in Your Company's Merger?, (Real Estate Issues, Fall 2014). E

What’s Your Agency Worth? (Best’s Review, Apr. 2012). E

Mergers and Acquisition Transaction Costs: Who Gets the Benefit? (Business Entities, July/Aug. 2010). E

Mergers and Acquisitions: Finding the Perfect Suitor (REALTOR® Magazine, Sept. 2009).

6 Questions to Ask Before Swallowing a Competitor (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 2009).

Business Formation: Choose a Structure

C Corporation, S Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, or Limited Liability Company (LLC)? What are the tax, liability, and capital requirement implications of incorporating versus forming an LLC? The resources below offer a basic foundation in business formation considerations.

Starting a Business (U.S. Small Business Administration).

Converting a C Corporation into an LLC: Quantifying the Tax Costs and Benefits (Journal of Taxation, Aug. 2010). E

Forming an LLC (Wall Street Journal, Online Edition, Mar. 26, 2010). 

Forming an S Corporation (Wall Street Journal, Online Edition, Mar. 22, 2010). 

Forming a C Corporation (Wall Street Journal, Online Edition, Mar. 15, 2010). 

Forming a Partnership (Wall Street Journal, Online Edition, Mar. 8, 2010). 

Forming a Sole Proprietorship (Wall Street Journal, Online Edition, Mar. 1, 2010). 

Free Government Resources

Did you know that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a robust offering of free online and in-person courses, workshops, sample documents, monthly web chats, and FAQs to assist you in your business endeavor? It's true. Check out the SBA's website to discover offerings relevant to your needs.

The SBA’s Learn About Business Law & Regulations topic page is great for orienting yourself with important steps to take mitigate risk when forming or reforming a business. The Create Your Business Plan topic page offers links to a diversity of materials, including free educational courses, video tutorials, checklists, and more.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission's Guide to Antitrust Laws includes a section concerning Mergers. The Federal Trade Commission also maintains a Frequently Asked Questions about Merger Consent Order Provisions page.

The National Association of REALTORS®’ Real Estate Business Institute (REBI – formerly the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers) offers courses on a variety of real estate brokerage topics. Visit the REBI website to learn about their credentials and course offerings.

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Achieving Post-Merger Success (Adobe eReader)

Applied Mergers and Acquisitions Workbook (Adobe eReader)

Buying and Selling a Business (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Charging Back Up the Hill (Adobe eReader)

Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth (Adobe eReader)

How to Increase the Value of Your Company (Adobe eReader and Kindle)

Merger and Acquisitions Basics (Adobe eReader)

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