Brokerage

Re/Max set to go public Wednesday

Investor reaction will shed light on sentiment about the housing recovery

All eyes in the world of real estate will be watching Wednesday as franchisor Re/Max Holdings Inc. goes public, an event that’s expected to shed light on investor sentiment about the housing recovery.

“We know that the real estate market has cooled off since the spike in rates, and while Lennar just told us that the homebuilding business is doing much better than we thought, this may not be the ideal moment for a real estate brokerage play like RE/MAX to be coming public,” Mad Money host Jim Cramer said today.

“I do think Re/Max is worth watching, if only to see which way the market jumps — it could be an important tell for everything associated with residential real estate.”

According to Nasdaq.com, shares in Re/Max will begin trading on Wednesday, Oct. 2, sharing the limelight with Burlington Coat Factory.

Re/Max has said it expects to net at least $177 million from the initial public offering, and will use $27.3 million to reacquire franchise rights in two U.S. franchise regions.

Re/Max currently owns the right to sell brokerage franchises in 10 of its 32 franchise regions in the U.S. and Canada. Reacquiring the rights to the Central Atlantic and Southwest regions boost its percentage of U.S. and Canadian Re/Max agents to 54 percent from the current 46 percent.

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The franchise network serves more than 90,000 agents in 6,300 offices and 90 countries. The IPO of 10 million shares is expected to be priced at between $19 and $21 per share.

Re/Max will also grant underwriters of the IPO a 30-day option to to buy up to 1.5 million additional shares.

If underwriters fully exercise their option to purchase additional shares, the net proceeds will total $205.2 million, the company said in an amendment to its S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.