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RISMEDIA, March 11, 2010—Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC announced the signing of an exclusive 25-year licensing agreement for the United Kingdom with Countrywide, one of the U.K.’s largest estate agency and property services group.

Under the agreement, Countrywide has the exclusive license to the Sotheby’s International Realty brand across the United Kingdom and Channel Islands. Countrywide will create a new subsidiary called United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty to operate its new luxury brokerage business in those regions. As part of the transaction, Countrywide acquired the Sotheby’s International Realty–London office in Mayfair, previously owned and managed by NRT LLC, one of the largest owners and operators of real estate brokerages in the United States. The office will be renamed London Sotheby’s International Realty.

“This is a major step forward in our worldwide growth plan,” said Michael R. Good, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “This agreement will enable the Sotheby’s International Realty brand to expand significantly in London and throughout the United Kingdom. The leadership of Countrywide is very talented and committed to growing our presence steadily over the next several years.”

The Sotheby’s International Realty network has approximately 500 offices in 38 countries and territories worldwide. Franchise affiliates benefit from an association with the world-renowned Sotheby’s Auction House, established in 1744.

“Countrywide moves more people than any other agent in the United Kingdom through a network of 1,200 offices with 41 leading estate agency brands,” said Grenville Turner, Countrywide Group Chief Executive. “We plan to expand the presence of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand in central London and across the United Kingdom and to capitalize on the renewed sense of confidence we see in the property market. While this new business will be run separately from our other brands, we intend to leverage the support of our existing business structure. We also look forward to collaborating closely with the Sotheby’s Auction House in London as we develop our strategies.”

Countrywide has seen growth in its U.K. market share over the last year, and believes this agreement provides the platform for additional expansion. “The Sotheby’s International Realty brand is iconic and offers a huge potential for quality growth,” said Robert Scarff, managing director, Countrywide Estate Agents. “The strength of the U.K. property market for foreign investors makes this an ideal situation for us.”

According to Charlie Smith, managing director, United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty, the agreement offers the opportunity to be part of a larger network of offices across the United Kingdom. “I’m thrilled with this news as Countrywide is the biggest player in the market with the energy and power to help us grow a U.K.-wide network,” said Smith, whose tenure with the Sotheby’s International Realty brand surpasses 10 years. “This offers potential to grow across prime locations and signals a new and exciting chapter in our history.”

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