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Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

‘Ongoing antitrust litigation’ prompted deal to sell leading MLS 

Association owners of REcolorado say now is “the right time to sell” and that decoupling MLSs and associations can provide protections and improve operations.

June 25, 2024
2 minutes

The association owners of one of the nation's largest MLSs say "ongoing antitrust litigation" drove their decision to sell to a private equity firm.

In a joint statement shared with Real Estate News on Tuesday afternoon, Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) and the South Metro Denver Realtor Association (SMDRA), said: "We strongly believe that this is the right time to sell" REcolorado.

The move, confirmed Monday by an REcolorado exec in response to swirling rumors, comes "as the industry continues to advocate decoupling from the Realtor associations that have long owned the MLS," the statement said.

"As has been widely reported in industry reports and media coverage, decoupling MLSs and Realtor associations could help protect MLS organizations from ongoing antitrust litigation," the statement continued. "Separating could also improve MLS management, according to the latest Swanepoel Trends Report, which also recommended that MLSs be structured as for-profit businesses, while Realtor associations should be nonprofit organizations."

Speaking of litigation: REcolorado opted in to the NAR settlement as a Realtor-owned MLS. Will a change in ownership affect its protection from liability?

According to Brian Schneider, an attorney for Bright and other top MLSs, the answer is no: "Colorado's change in ownership should not affect their release and ongoing practice-change commitments under the NAR settlement agreement."

The future of the MLS: DMAR and SMDRA said "the proposed buyer has committed to the long-term operation of the MLS service for our professional brokerage community and that the resources of the MLS will be used to enhance the service offerings to all subscribers and that the company will not be resold."

An apology to members: The associations expressed regret for the way the proposed sale was revealed via Real Estate News and other industry publications, and promised a "commitment to communicating additional details regarding this proposed agreement as the process unfolds."

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