Real Estate Company: Interesting story about the founders of Douglas Elliman
Douglas Elliman Inc. announced Thursday it completed its spin-off from Vector Group Ltd. and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading under the symbol “DOUG” the company has been added to the S&P SmallCAP600 before the start of Thursday’s trading.
Douglas Elliman Chairman and CEO Howard M. Lorber said Thursday marked a new chapter for the company.
“As a stand-alone company, Douglas Elliman will leverage its differentiated approach, portfolio of innovative technology services and a best-in-class team of employees and agents to capitalize on growth opportunities in the highly attractive U.S. residential real estate market,” he said. “We believe there is a bright future ahead for our company as a standalone entity.”
Scott Durkin, CEO of Douglas Elliman Realty LLC, said the milestone wouldn’t have been reached without the hard work and dedication of the company’s agents and employees.
“As a standalone company, we look forward to building on Douglas Elliman’s leading luxury brand and longstanding tradition of excellence, while continuing to drive long-term value for stockholders,” he said.
Richard Lampen was ready for a new assignment.
It was the spring of 2020, and Lampen had just pulled off the sale of two of Vector Group’s portfolio companies for more than $1.5 billion. But what would follow was trickier: how to get top dollar for Douglas Elliman, a traditional real estate brokerage, at the height of a pandemic that had frozen the industry.
In November, Vector announced that Elliman would be spun off as its own entity, trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker DOUG. The proptech investment arm, New Valley Ventures, would be part of it. Though the spinoff was billed by Vector boss Howard Lorber as a way for the brokerage to directly tap the capital markets, many wonder whether it’s the opening move in a much bigger game — gearing Elliman up for a sale that would allow Lorber and his partners to cash out at a time when the business of brokerage is in flux.
If Elliman were to be valued at one or 1.5 times revenue, the company could fetch up to $2 billion, according to Steve Murray, a brokerage valuation consultant and co-founder at REAL Trends. That’s despite the fact that brokerages pass on most of their revenue to agents.
“There’s an opening for them to get a very premium price for that brokerage right now,” Murray said. “It’s a smart move by Howard and Richard.”
Citing an SEC-mandated quiet period, Elliman declined to comment for this story. A high-level source with knowledge of the company denied there were any plans for Elliman to be sold and said Lorber, 73, has no plans to leave or retire.