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05/26/05: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Wal-Mart, in an extraordinarily nimble move (considering its size), has backed off from the online video-rental business in lieu of a cross-promotional alliance with online upstart NetFlix. This is a forward-thinking strategy in that it acknowledges that the retailing environment is on the cusp of change. However, it will be interesting to see how long this alliance lasts, at least in its current formulation. After all, NetFlix’s revenues are clearly enough to make Wal-Mart salivate. Smells like an acquisition target. If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em.
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WEITZ CO. (PHOENIX) Recently promoted at the firm were Clay Wells, Steve Smith and Gary Lewis. Wells was named vice president, business development for the company’s Southwest business unit, while Smith was promoted to senior vice president and construction manager for the same unit. Lewis was appointed vice president and construction manager for Weitz-Norris Custom Homes, a unit of the company.

CB RICHARD ELLIS (BETHESDA, MD) Rejoining the firm’s local office here are Robin Burke and Andy Cole, who have returned as vice presidents. Both worked together at CBRE before taking their most recent positions at Advantis/GVA, where they helped start that company’s suburban Maryland office.

JER PARTNERS (MCLEAN, VA) James W. Smith III has been named principal of fund investment management at the firm, in which he will oversee asset management activities of all North American private equity funds. Smith was most recently at Jamestown, where he was director running the firm’s real estate investment program.

RECKSON ASSOCIATES REALTY (NEW YORK CITY) The company has tapped William Elder as senior vice president and co-director of its local division here. Elder will oversee the revenue side of operations. He was previously senior vice president at Shorenstein Co., where he ran leasing operations on the East Coast.

WATT GENTON ASSOCIATES (LOS ANGELES) New to the company is Jeannie DeFazio, who joins as vice president. She will run leasing, sales and marketing of mixed-use residential and retail developments. DeFazio was most recently at Regis Corp., where she was real estate director.

CRESA PARTNERS (NEW YORK CITY) Scott Savin has come on board as senior vice president. Savin specializes in site selection, contract and lease negotiation and financial analysis. He was most recently first vice president at CB Richard Ellis.

ARBOR COMMMERCIAL MORTGAGE (UNIONDALE, NY) Salvatore Villani has joined the firm as associate general counsel. Villani will manage Fannie Mae and structured finance transactions. He comes from the law firm of Herrick, Feinstein LLP.

ADVANTAGE TITLE AGENCY (HUNTINGTON, NY) Joseph Taylor has been named director of sales, moving over from his most recent position as EAM Land Services, where he worked in business development. Taylor will be responsible for expanding Advantage’s business in the New York City metropolitan area.

TIC PROPERTIES (GREENVILLE, SC) The firm has hired Robert Martin, most recently at Carter Real Estate in Atlanta, as vice president of investments, a newly created position. Martin will be responsible for locating, analyzing and acquiring institutional-grade property for use in TIC programs.


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