Compass Realty and Latter & Blum logos over New Orleans houses
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

Compass acquires longtime New Orleans independent Latter & Blum 

The acquisition of the century-old firm and its 3,100 agents could give Compass an edge in the NOLA and greater Gulf Coast market.

April 3, 2024
3 minutes

Today, Compass announced the acquisition of Latter & Blum, the formerly independent brokerage firm headquartered in New Orleans that maintains a major presence and market share in Louisiana and other Gulf Coast metros. 

What it means: The acquisition of Latter & Blum marks Compass' entry into the New Orleans market, effectively going from no market share to somewhere in the ballpark of 15%. According to Latter & Blum's website, the company, founded in 1916, maintains 32 offices in markets across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and has 3,100 agents. 

In a news release, Compass noted that Latter & Blum closed $3.6 billion in residential transaction volume in 2023. The T3 Sixty Real Estate Almanac ranks the firm as the 45th largest brokerage in the country by sales volume. Compass, meanwhile, sits at No. 1 with nearly $228 billion in volume reported last year.

What Latter & Blum said: In an unlisted Youtube video sent to agents, Latter & Blum CEO Lacey Conway shared the news with her team.

"We'll maintain the amazing culture and brand loyalty we've built across the Gulf South, and combine it with Compass' industry leading technology and nationwide network of nearly 30,000 agents," she said. "Choosing Compass was a strategic decision to empower our agents to win even more business without sacrificing the things you all love about our company."

Conway also provided a short list of updates directly to agents to get ahead of any possible questions or concerns they might have about the acquisition. She noted that agents' commission and fee structures won't be impacted by the move and that L&B management will still oversee day-to-day operations. 

Additionally, she noted that the company's new joint branding was still to be determined, and the company would continue to operate with its existing marketing and branding for the time being. 

What Compass said: In the same video, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin welcomed Latter & Blum agents and shared a personal anecdote. 

"Today is a historic day," Reffkin said. "We're bringing together two incredible companies: The number one brokerage firm in the Gulf South and the number one brokerage firm in the United States."

"My roots are grounded in real estate," he continued. "My mom is a Realtor and has been a Realtor nearly my entire life. She even works a Compass today. She taught me at a young age that you're the client, so I see myself as working for you."

Why now? One of the biggest remaining questions about the merger is why the independent Latter & Blum chose to make the move now. A Compass spokesperson declined to comment when asked if the NAR settlement and concern of future litigation played a role in the timing of the acquisition. 

As a company with well over $2 billion in transaction volume, Latter & Blum is one of over 90 brokerages left out of the NAR settlement. However, Compass announced a settlement deal with the class action cases last month, agreeing to pay $57.5 million and to make a number of changes to its rules and business practices. It remains unclear whether Latter & Blum will be protected under the terms of Compass' settlement.

Get the latest real estate news delivered to your inbox.