Sears, Roebuck and Co. said Monday it will divest its Coldwell Banker commercial real estate division, the Coldwell Banker Commercial Group, as part of a "strategic redirection" and a decision to focus on its retail and other consumer-related businesses. No potential buyers were named.
The commercial end of Coldwell Banker - including its operation in Utah, headquartered in the First Interstate Bank Tower downtown - is the founding business of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group and has been the nation's largest commercial real estate services company almost since the turn of the century.The Salt Lake operation employs about 50 people. Shanna Black, administrative manager, said no immediate major changes are expected in the office. "Things will go on like they have been. We've always been independent." There has been speculation that Coldwell Banker's former stockholders might buy the company back from Sears, "but no one really knows," said Black.
Sears said the Coldwell Banker Commercial Group is "highly profitable" and is independently managed within the Sears conglomerate. The Los Angeles-based company operates through more than 100 offices in North America and had 1987 revenues of almost $400 million representing more than 22,000 transactions.
"(We) . . . are absolutely committed to the long-term vitality and continued market leadership of the company, and have every intention of participating in decisions as to the ultimate ownership of the Commercial Group" said James J. Didion, chairman of the Commercial Group.
"We (the Commercial Group) have been happy within the Sears family of businesses but recognize the rationale for a divestment. Compatible ownership is integral to our continuing success, and we are confident that Sears will handle the divestment of our company in a positive and mutually beneficial fashion.
Sears didn't say how the divestment will be handled.