Will they?  Won’t they?  Turns out they have. Yes, Douglas Elliman bought Teles Properties and their 21 offices and 630 agents from Carmel to Coronado in California. This new acquisition increases Elliman’s roster to 7,000 agents and 110 offices nation-wide.

Many of Elliman’s and Teles’s top names will shuffle the cards to fill top spots in this new venture currently called Teles, a Douglas Elliman Real Estate Co. and, in the Fall, known as Douglas Elliman. Stephen Kotler will become the CEO of Elliman’s Western Region; Sharran Srivatsaa, the current co-president of Teles, will take on Kotler’s former role as president in the region. Peter Hernandez, co-president and co-founder of Teles will become the president of Elliman Brokerage for California.  Elliman’s current chairman, Howard Lorber, will continue to execute that role.

Some observers see Elliman’s expanded footprint in Southern California as a contest between this traditional house grounded in marketing and service and an upstart venture capital backed, app-centered outlier, Compass. Who will get the “important” clients and houses and who will be left in the dust?  And, as importantly, will the future of the real estate industry be re-defined?

Elliman, in business since 1911 and the more known quantity as the fourth largest real estate firm in the nation, has two major positives going for it.  Known for its superior marketing, Elliman launched a year-long national campaign this last May called “It’s Time for Elliman” on all channels and just revamped its ELLIMAN magazine to cement its national brand.  Two, Howard Lorber recently announced Elliman’s new development division that is to focus on condominium resources and product development. This division is marketing the Edition Hotel and Residence in West Hollywood in partnership with New York developer Steve Witkoff as well as the second phase of the Metropolis, a $1B mixed use development in South Park.

Compass is a less than four year old $800M startup and industry change agent.  Its everything-in-one-platform app is designed to fully integrate all aspects of the real estate process.  Its just launched marketing campaign, Collections, is an interactive, online home search tool intended to “…marry high tech with high touch.”  Already a bi-coastal with high profile,luxury destination cities in between, Compass intends to charter new ground for the real estate industry in this 21st Century with cutting edge technology and superior client services. How this contest goes is anyone’s guess.