Realogy Corp., the largest U.S. residential real estate broker, agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Apollo Management for about $6.4 billion amid a slump in the U.S. housing market.
Residential brokers including Realogy have been hurt by a U.S. housing market slowdown.
Home prices fell in about a third of U.S. metropolitan areas in the third quarter as the slump forced sellers to accept lower bids, the National Assn. of Realtors said last month.
Although the company's takeover would allow stockholders "to realize the value of Realogy's fundamentally strong businesses," the purchase price "takes into account the substantial pressures and uncertainties facing the residential real estate markets that may well continue for some time," Chief Executive Henry R. Silverman said in a statement.
Realogy shareholders would receive $30 a share, Parsippany, N.J.-based Realogy said Sunday in a statement. That's 18% more than the stock's closing price Friday. Including debt, the deal is valued at about $9 billion, Realogy said.
The purchase must be approved by the holders of a majority of Realogy's shares and receive antitrust and insurance approvals. Realogy and Apollo plan to complete the purchase by the middle of next year.
Under the terms of the agreement, Realogy may solicit proposals from other potential buyers until Feb. 14. Any proposals would be considered by a special committee and independent advisors, Realogy said.
The company is the world's largest real estate franchisor. Its companies include Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial, ERA and Southeby's International Realty. It has 15,000 employees worldwide and 320,000 brokers and sales associates.