The property division of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is buying U.S. real estate, relocation and financing firm GMAC Home Services in anticipation of an eventual recovery of the U.S. housing market, the company announced Tuesday.
Brookfield, based in Toronto, did not disclose the purchase price.
"We have a long-term upbeat view on real estate and we have been rewarded when we have a patient, long-term view around these sorts of things," said Graham Badun, head of Brookfield Residential Property Services.
GMAC Home Services has divisions in 47 American states as well as Europe and Asia.
When the deal is completed, Brookfield will have one of the largest relocation companies in the world, with nearly 30,000 agents, based out of 1,500 locations across North America.
In Canada, Brookfield controls property service companies Royal LePage, La Capitale, Johnston & Daniel and Centract.
"Notwithstanding the recent market turmoil, this acquisition represents an important opportunity for us to expand in the U.S. market for residential property services and we believe we are well positioned to grow our market share once this difficult period of adjustment is behind us," said George Myhal, senior managing partner at Brookfield.
John Bearden, president and CEO of GMAC Home Services, said the sale to Brookfield "allows us to join a globally recognized and respected real estate and relocation services organization."
"This move will enhance the ability of two world-class organizations to pursue opportunities on a global scale," he said in a statement.
Brookfield said it expects the deal to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Class A shares of Brookfield Asset Management closed down eight cents at $27.84 on the TSX.