Barita Investments Limited says it successfully financed a transaction in which a Jamaican company – Ecommerce Property Services Limited (Ecommerce) – acquired three US-based companies.

The firms are vertically integrated tech-based companies that each serve distinct stages of the real estate purchase and sale process in Florida.

Describing the financing arrangement as a “landmark transaction”, Barita said it provided quasi-equity and debt financing to Ecommerce through a structure called leveraged recapitalization. Leveraged recapitalization sees a company take on additional debt with the purpose of either paying a large dividend or repurchasing shares.

Barita declined to disclose the value of the transaction but said it plans to arrange the listing of Ecommerce on the Jamaica Stock Exchange within 12 months, pending regulatory approvals.

The local investments firm said taking Ecommerce Property Services public would provide more investors with the opportunity to gain exposure in “the three fast-growing real estate services companies in the US”.

In the meantime, Barita intends to pursue similar transactions in North America.

“This transaction has provided us with the opportunity to pursue other partnerships in the lucrative North American market as we seek to execute our local and regional expansion strategy,” said Terise Kettle, Vice President, Investment Banking at Barita.

She noted that the recent transaction is part of Barita’s strategy to create value and drive growth across multiple revenue lines.

“A key objective, as mentioned in the prospectus of our last APO, is to add capacity to our principal investment portfolios to include: private equity; private credit; infrastructure and alternative investments,” the VP for investment banking at Barita said.

“This transaction sees not just Jamaican financial capital being utilised to accelerate growth, but it showcases the ability of the Barita team to structure complex bespoke solutions in any market,” she added.

The three US-based companies were previously primarily owned by Robert Slack and Walters, who now (as part of the transaction) own a stake in Ecommerce Property Services. Companies Offices records show James Godfery, a director of Barita Investments, as secretary for Ecommerce Property Services. Godfery, along with business executives Clifton Cameron and Dennis Smith are shareholders.

They are Robert Slack Fine Homes LLC (Robert Slack LLC), a digital resource for buying and selling real estate; Florida Funding LLC, which offers mortgage brokering and Florida Title LLC, a title and real estate settlement provider.

The largest of the three US companies, Robert Slack LLC, is expected to have combined property sales exceeding US$2 billion (over $300 billion) for the financial year 2021, Barita said.

According to Real Trends Mega Teams rankings, Robert Slack LLC had the third largest real estate brokerage mega team in the US by transaction volume (sides) and second by transaction value for the financial year 2020.

RealTrends identifies the largest and most successful agents and firms ranked by closed transaction sides and separately closed sales volume in the US.

Robert Slack LLC experienced significant growth within the last six years, Barita stated in a press release.

Since the financial year 2015, it has grown from selling real estate valuing a total of US$46 million with just 43 agents on 256 transactions to US$1.5 billion (approximately J$232.5 billion) in sales from over 600 agents on 5,198 transactions during 2020.

Barita said the transaction was executed by its banking and structured finance products teams.

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