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IRVINE, CA-Sperry Van Ness, which has grown throughout the US in the past five years, has launched a growth initiative that is designed to expand the firm internationally and to continue the domestic growth that the locally based brokerage firm has enjoyed in the past five years. The firm, ranked 16th largest among commercial real estate brokerages, seeks to break into the top 10 within two to three years.

Jerry Anderson, president and COO of Sperry Van Ness International, tells that the firm will be meeting soon with prospective SVN licensees in the Middle East in addition to international members already doing business under the Sperry Van Ness name in Costa Rica and Panama. Anderson, who joined SVN in 2004, led the expansion of the company’s SVN Advisors, the licensee division of the company, before taking on the role of president and COO of SVN International.

Anderson tells that although the company has established itself in many US markets, it lacks a presence in some, hence the latest expansion push. “The New York operation has really been very helpful for us, but we do not have the presence in some of the other eastern markets such as Florida and in Texas that we would like to have,” he says.

In Texas SVN would most like to expand in Dallas and Houston, while in Florida its first target cities are Miami and Tampa. The firm also wants to increase its presence in Central New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic markets like Washington, DC, Anderson adds.

In the past five years SVN has expanded into other markets primarily by signing license agreements with existing firms to operate under the Sperry Van Ness banner, and that will continue to be one of the primary means of expansion. However, Anderson tells, “We are constantly looking for opportunities, whether it be through licensing or acquisitions.”

A case in point is SVN’s recent acquisition of institutional brokerage firm JBM Realty Advisors Inc. of Tampa. The acquisition will give SVN more clout in the arena of larger institutional sales because deal sizes at JBM Realty Advisors are in the range of $31 million and higher. JBM operates mainly in the Southeast and the East but has wanted to expand nationally, so the merger with SVN will enable the Florida-based firm to do so more easily, Anderson says.

Anderson points out that SVN grew very rapidly by working in the secondary and tertiary markets and now hopes to expand into more major markets and to increase its presence in major markets where it does have offices. He calls the latest SVN expansion push “the next wave of growth,” pointing out that the firm started in 1987 as a local Orange County entity that grew to prominence in California and Arizona before launching its national expansion plans in 2002.

Sperry Van Ness was co-founded by Rand Sperry and Mark Van Ness, who remain in executive posts with the company, which includes more than 900 advisers in more than 150 locations. During the past five years, the firm’s annual deal volume has grown from about $2 billion to nearly $13 billion.

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