The REcolorado MLS logo and the Denver skyline

Deal in place to sell REcolorado to private equity firm 

The associations that own the 16th-largest MLS surprised its leaders with a deal that “scared the absolute hell out of us,” REcolorado’s vice chair said.

June 24, 2024
2 minutes

In a deal that has left REcolorado leaders reeling, the Realtor association owners of the nation's 16th-largest MLS have quietly agreed to sell it to a private-equity funded company.

Shelly Vincent, vice chair of REcolorado, on Monday night confirmed that the owners of the MLS — Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) and the South Metro Denver Realtor Association (SMDRA) — shared a letter of intent to sell REColorado to a newly formed LLC from outside the real estate space, "backed by a private equity firm."

The sale could be final in weeks.

"The terms of this deal scared the absolute hell out of us," Vincent said. They wanted to know the severance package for its well-regarded executives, President and CEO Gene Millman and COO Leesa Baker.

MLS future at risk? The way the letter of intent was worded, Vincent added, the MLS might not continue to be an MLS long term. "Our attorneys are freaking out," she said. "They've never seen anything like this."

Vincent, who is the employing broker of more than 2,500 HomeSmart agents in Colorado, had been part of the team negotiating to buy back the MLS from DMAR and SMDRA, a process that began in December.

The associations went quiet, then at 9 p.m. on June 20, shared the letter of intent, which had been signed May 23, Vincent said.

'Bad blood' between the MLS and its owners: There is "a tremendous amount of bad blood" between the MLS and its association owners, Vincent said.

"In our efforts to preserve ourselves legally, we pushed back continuously on some of the questionable rules imposed upon us," Vincent said.

Real Estate News has reached out to DMAR and SMDRA for comment.

She said the associations are facing declining membership, and while this deal will bring dollars, it also brings risk. 

"How am I supposed to defend association memberships to my agents?" said Vincent, who is planning to move her primary association membership to Mountain Metro Association of Realtors.

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