Business can be much more fascinating than the dry numbers and deals that often dominate the business pages. This is especially so in the “Village of Vancouver,” where networks are so important (and entrenched).
Yesterday there was an announcement that Sotheby’s International Realty Canada has been acquired by 360 VOX Corp., which is 24-per-cent owned by Ned Goodman, the chief executive of Dundee Capital Markets Inc. and a legendary investor in Toronto.
Out of their global offices, Sotheby’s and related company Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec develop and sell high-end real estate to Canadians. Another company in the group, Blueprint Global Marketing, is the dedicated sales arm. Together, they earn about $40 million in annual revenue.
Big deal. So what?
Well, Sotheby’s was founded by CEO Ross McCredie, of Vancouver, who in 2004 convinced the venerable Sotheby’s of London to provide him with the first master franchise ever awarded outside the U.K. That company, Sotheby’s International Realty, has now grown to 22 offices and 500 staff.
This deal earns him and his shareholders $3.6 million in cash and 54.25 million common shares, or 27 per cent of 360 VOX, which develops resorts around the world.
The two companies linked up because Goodman apparently sees the growing demand for real estate in high net-worth portfolios. While the regular real estate market may be slowing, high-end real estate is still prized as investments by the wealthy.
Presumably, together, the companies will play a large part in Dundee’s growing wealth management business. Combined, Sotheby’s and 360 VOX will become asset managers for the real-estate portfolio among Goodman’s other wealth-management businesses.
That’s the end game. But what came before it is just as interesting.
McCredie, who becomes COO of 360 VOX and will sit on the company’s board, once worked for Intrawest when it ran Blackcomb and Whistler ski resorts. So did most of the main people behind 360 VOX.
After they left Intrawest, they continued to work together and usually referred to themselves as alumni of “Intrawest University,” where they learned the resort and high-end real estate game.
I guess we could now agree that Intrawest University conferred degrees with high honours.