Sears Completes Sale of Coldwell to Fremont Group

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sears, Roebuck & Co. said Tuesday that it has completed the sale of its Coldwell Banker Residential Group to a San Francisco investment company for an undisclosed amount.

The Mission Viejo real estate company, renamed Coldwell Banker Corp., was bought by the Fremont Group. Though no financial details were released, industry experts have speculated that the purchase price was as much as $600 million.

Fremont Group is an investment company owned largely by members of the Bechtel family. It has more than $3.5 billion in assets with such holdings as Cost Plus Inc. retail chain and Petro Stopping Centers truck-stop chain, as well as interests in real estate, timber, energy and communications.

Coldwell Banker will remain in Mission Viejo with its current management and 500 corporate employees. Five top Coldwell officers, led by Chairman Chandler Barton, joined with Fremont in the acquisition.

The sale, announced in May, is part of an effort by Sears to divest itself of real estate and banking businesses it acquired during the 1980s.

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