10-K 1 rmax-10k_20141231.htm 10-K

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

x

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended: December 31, 2014

OR

¨

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF1934

For the transition period from              to             

Commission File Number 001-36101

 

RE/MAX Holdings, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

80-0937145

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

5075 South Syracuse Street

Denver, Colorado

 

80237

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip code)

(303) 770-5531

(Registrants’ telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share

 

New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is well-known seasoned issuers, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of Registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, accelerated filer, non-accelerated filer, or smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

 Large Accelerated Filer   ¨

 

Accelerated Filer   x

 

Non-Accelerated Filer   ¨

 

Smaller Reporting Company ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes   ¨     No   x

As of June 30, 2014, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter, the aggregate value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates was approximately $342.6 million, based on the number of shares held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2014 and the closing price of the registrant’s common stock on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, 2014.

The number of outstanding shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, and Class B common stock, par value $0.0001, as of March 6, 2015 was 11,798,041 and 1, respectively.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K where indicated. Such proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2014.

 

 

 

 


 

RE/MAX HOLDINGS, INC.

2014 ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PART I

4

 

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

4

 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

17

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

36

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

36

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

36

 

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

36

 

PART II

37

 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

37

 

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

38

 

ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

40

 

ITEM 7A. QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

74

 

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

75

 

ITEM 9. CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

114

 

ITEM 9A. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

114

 

ITEM 9B. OTHER INFORMATION

114

 

PART III

115

 

ITEM 10. DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

115

 

ITEM 11. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

115

 

ITEM 12. SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

115

 

ITEM 13. CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

115

 

ITEM 14. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES

115

 

PART IV

116

 

ITEM 15. EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

116

 

 

 

2


 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements give our current expectations and projections relating to our financial condition, results of operations, plans, objectives, future performance and business. You can identify forward-looking statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. These statements may include words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “believe,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “likely” and other words and terms of similar meaning in connection with any discussion of the timing or nature of future operating or financial performance or other events. For example, forward-looking statements include statements we make relating to:

our expectations regarding consumer trends in residential real estate transactions;

our expectations regarding overall economic and demographic trends, including the continued recovery of the U.S. residential real estate market;

our expectations regarding our performance during future downturns in the housing sector;

our growth strategy of increasing our agent count;

our ability to expand our network of franchises at higher than average rates in both new and existing but underpenetrated markets;

our expectations regarding agent count and productivity;

our growth strategy of increasing our number of closed transaction sides and transaction sides per agent;

the continued strength of our brand both in the U.S. and Canada and in the rest of the world;

the pursuit of future reacquisitions of Independent Regions;

our intention to pay dividends;

our future financial performance;

the effects of laws applying to our business;

our ability to retain our senior management and other key employees;

our intention to pursue additional intellectual property protections;

our future compliance with U.S. or state franchise regulations;

other plans and objectives for future operations, growth, initiatives, acquisitions or strategies, including investments in our information technology infrastructure; and

the anticipated benefits of our advertising strategy.

These and other forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those that we expected. We derive many of our forward-looking statements from our operating budgets and forecasts, which are based upon many detailed assumptions. While we believe that our assumptions are reasonable, we caution that it is very difficult to predict the impact of known factors and it is impossible for us to anticipate all factors that could affect our actual results. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations, or cautionary statements, are disclosed in “Item 1A.Risk Factors” and in “Item 7.Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

We caution you that the important factors referenced above may not contain all of the factors that are important to you. In addition, we cannot assure you that we will realize the results or developments we expect or anticipate or, even if substantially realized, that they will result in the consequences or affect us or our operations in the way we expect. The forward-looking statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are made only as of the date of this report. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

 

 

 

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PART I

 

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

Our Company

We are one of the world’s leading franchisors of real estate brokerage services. Our business strategy is to recruit and retain agents and sell franchises. Our franchisees operate under the RE/MAX brand name, which has held the number one market share in the U.S. and Canada since 1999, as measured by total residential transaction sides completed by our agents. Accordingly, our company slogan is “Nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX.” The RE/MAX brand has the highest level of unaided brand awareness in real estate in the U.S. and Canada according to a 2014 consumer survey by MMR Strategy Group, and our iconic red, white and blue RE/MAX hot air balloon is one of the most recognized real estate logos in the world.  

The RE/MAX brand is built on the strength of our global franchise network, which is designed to attract and retain the best-performing and most experienced agents by maximizing their opportunity to retain a larger portion of their commissions. As a result of this agent-centric approach, we believe that our agents are substantially more productive than the industry average. We consider agent count to be a key measure of our business performance as the majority of our revenue is derived from fixed, contractual fees and dues paid to us based on the number of agents in our franchise network.

RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by David and Gail Liniger with an innovative, entrepreneurial culture affording our agents and franchisees the flexibility to operate their businesses with great independence. This business strategy led to a 33-year period of uninterrupted growth, highlighted in the charts below, as RE/MAX added large numbers of franchises and agents in the U.S., Canada and around the world. Today, the RE/MAX brand operates in more countries than any other real estate brokerage brand in the world.

 

 

 

 

98,010 Agents

6,751 Offices

97 Countries

Number of Agents

Number of Offices

Number of Countries

As of December 31, 2014.

We grew our total agent count at a compound annual growth rate (“CAGR”) of 30% from our founding to a peak of approximately 120,000 agents in 2006. Our agent count declined approximately 26.8% from 2006 through 2011 as real estate transaction activity declined during the U.S. and global real estate downturn and economic recession. We returned to growth starting in 2012, resulting in a net gain of 10,534 agents between 2012 and 2014 (of which 5,953 were in the U.S.). We gained 4,782 agents (of which 2,614 were in the U.S.) in 2014 as the upturn has continued. We expect that our U.S. agent count will continue to increase as we continue to attract agents who recognize the strength of the RE/MAX brand and our agent-centric value proposition.

As approximately 81% of our 2014 revenue came from the U.S., we believe that we are benefiting from an improving U.S. housing market.  After rising by more than 9% per year in 2012 and 2013, existing home sale transactions fell by 2.9% in 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors (“NAR”).  However, NAR forecasts that existing home sale transactions will rise 6.4% in 2015. With approximately 14% of our 2014 revenue coming from Canada, where RE/MAX has the leading market share among residential brokerage firms, we also expect to benefit from generally stable Canadian housing market trends, where home sales were up 5.1% in 2014, but are forecasted to rise 0.8% in 2015, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (“CREA”).

The RE/MAX network extends to commercial real estate brokerage as well, with approximately 2,800 RE/MAX Commercial® practitioners in over 45 countries. RE/MAX Commercial® is perennially named one of the top 25 commercial brokerage networks by National Real Estate Investor magazine.

4


 

As a franchisor with less than 1% owned brokerage offices in the U.S., we maintain a low fixed-cost structure, which enables us to generate high margins and helps us drive significant operating leverage through incremental revenue growth.

 

(1)

Adjusted EBITDA includes adjustments to EBITDA for loss or gain on sale or disposition of assets and sublease, loss on early extinguishment of debt, non-recurring equity-based compensation, non-cash straight-line rent expense, salaries paid to David Liniger, our Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Co-Founder, and Gail Liniger, our Vice Chair and Co-Founder, that we discontinued subsequent to our initial public offering (the “IPO”), professional fees and certain non-recurring expenses incurred in connection with the IPO, acquisition transaction costs and non-recurring severance and other related charges incurred in connection with the restructuring plan designed to improve efficiencies at our corporate headquarters and the retirement of our former Chief Executive Officer on December 31, 2014. See “Item 7.Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for further discussion of Adjusted EBITDA and a reconciliation of the differences between Adjusted EBITDA and net income.

(2)

Excludes adjustments attributable to the non-controlling interest.

We operate in two reportable segments, (1) Real Estate Franchise Services and (2) Brokerages. The Real Estate Franchise Services reportable segment comprises the operations of our owned and independent global franchising operations and corporate-wide professional services expenses. The Brokerages reportable segment contains the operations of our 21 owned brokerage offices in the U.S. (which represent less than 1% of RE/MAX brokerages in the U.S.), the results of operations of a mortgage brokerage company in which we own a non-controlling interest and reflects the elimination of intersegment revenue and other consolidation entities. Our reportable segments represent our operating segments for which separate financial information is available and which is utilized on a regular basis by our management to assess performance and to allocate resources. For additional financial information about our business by segment, see Note 18 to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Market Opportunity

We operate in the real estate brokerage franchise industry in the U.S., Canada and 95 other countries.

U.S. and Canadian Real Estate Brokerage Industry Overview. Based upon U.S. Census Bureau data and existing home sales information from NAR, the U.S. residential real estate industry is an approximately $1.41 trillion market based on 2014 sales volume. Residential real estate represents the largest single asset class in the U.S. with a value of approximately $20.0 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve.

Residential real estate brokerages typically realize revenue by charging a commission based on a percentage of the price of the home sold. The real estate brokerage industry generally benefits in periods of rising home prices and transaction activity (with the number of licensed real estate agents generally increasing during such periods), and is adversely impacted in periods of falling prices and home sale transactions (with the number of licensed real estate agents generally decreasing during such periods).

5


 

We believe that the traditional agent-assisted business model compares favorably to alternative channels of the residential brokerage industry, such as discount brokers and “for sale by owner,” because full-service brokerages are the best-suited to address many of the key characteristics of real estate transactions, including: (i) the complexity and large monetary value involved in home sale transactions, (ii) the infrequency of home sale transactions, (iii) the high price variability in the home market, (iv) the unique nature of each home and (v) the consumer’s need for a high degree of personalized advice and support in light of these factors. For these reasons, we believe that consumers will continue to use the agent-assisted model for residential real estate transactions. In addition, although listings are available for viewing on a wide variety of real estate websites, we believe an agent’s local market expertise provides the ability to better understand the inventory of for-sale homes and the interests of potential buyers. This knowledge allows the agent to customize the pool of potential homes they show to a buyer, as well as help sellers to present their home professionally to best attract potential buyers. According to NAR, 88% of sellers of existing homes used an agent or broker in 2014 compared to 82% in 2004, and 88% of buyers used an agent or broker, compared with 77% in 2004.

Cyclical Nature. The residential real estate industry is cyclical in nature, but has shown strong long-term growth. From the second half of 2005 through 2011, the U.S. real estate industry experienced a significant downturn, with existing home sale transactions declining by 40% from 7.1 million in 2005 to 4.3 million in 2011, according to NAR. Since then, the U.S. real estate industry has improved, with 4.7 million existing home sale transactions in 2012, 5.1 million in 2013, and 4.9 million in 2014. NAR forecasts 5.3 million existing home sales in 2015.

Similarly, the median home sale price declined by 24% from 2005 to 2011, but increased by 6.4% in 2012, and another 11.5% in 2013, according to NAR. Median price increases moderated to 5.7% in 2014, leaving prices at the end of 2014 5.1% below the end of 2005.  NAR forecasts that the rate of home price increases will moderate further in 2015.  Furthermore, according to CoreLogic, Inc., between October 2012 and September 2014, the number of homes with mortgages larger than their estimated fair value fell by more than 50%, and the percentage of homes with a loan-to-value ratio of less than 80% increased from 55% to more than 70%. We believe the strengthened equity position of a substantial number of homeowners, who may previously have been unable to sell their houses because doing so would not bring a high enough price to pay off the mortgages, will unlock pent-up market demand for sales of existing homes in 2015 and beyond.

While this price recovery has meant that home affordability has fallen somewhat from record highs in 2012, it has still remained substantially above its ten- and twenty-year averages, as measured by NAR’s Home Affordability Index.  This means homes continue to be affordable for the median consumer. The extent to which home affordability remains high will depend on the extent of any future interest rate changes, changes in home prices, and changes in the job market and/or wage growth.

Favorable Long-term Demand. We believe that long-term demand for housing in the U.S. is primarily driven by the economic health of the domestic economy, and local factors such as demand relative to supply. We also believe that the residential real estate market in the U.S. will benefit from fundamental demographic shifts over the long term. These include an increase in household formations, including as a result of immigration and population growth. According to the 2014 State of the Nation’s Housing Report compiled by the Joint Center for Housing Studies, U.S. household formation increased by only 600,000 to 800,000 formations in each of the past several years, well below historic levels, but is projected to grow by 11.6 million to 13.2 million between 2015 and 2025. Likewise, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that the U.S. will continue to experience long-term population growth and predicts total net immigration of 49.0 million individuals between 2015 and 2050. We believe that there is also pent-up selling demand from generational shifts, such as many retirement age homeowners who are likely to take advantage of improving housing market conditions in order to sell their existing residences and retire in new areas of the country or purchase smaller homes. Similarly, we believe there is also pent-up buying demand among adult children, particularly in the large millennial generation, currently living in their parents’ homes or renting with others, who are likely to take advantage of an improving economy and good home affordability, driving household formation back to historical levels.

Our Market Position. We attribute our success to our ability to recruit and retain experienced agents and sell franchises. Our approach to sustained agent recruiting and retention and franchise sales depends upon two key elements of our unique business model: (i) creating and maintaining a premier market presence in the real estate brokerage industry worldwide, and (ii) creating and maintaining the unique RE/MAX “growth engine.”

Premier Market Presence. The strength of our brand worldwide in the real estate brokerage industry is the result of our ability to successfully create and maintain “Premier Market Presence.” We believe that we offer agents and franchisees a compelling market presence in the real estate brokerage industry through the combination of the following six attributes:

leading unaided brand awareness;

highly experienced and productive agents;

leading market share;

high traffic web presence;

6


 

high level of customer satisfaction; and

strong community citizenship.

We believe our focus on creating and maintaining Premier Market Presence has led to a sustained growth of our global franchise network and the RE/MAX brand.

RE/MAX “Growth Engine.” The RE/MAX Growth Engine is a virtuous circle whereby all of the key stakeholders in our franchise network—our franchisees, agents and RE/MAX—benefit from mutual investment and participation in the RE/MAX network, or, as we say in RE/MAX, “Everybody wins.” By building our leading brand around an agent-centric model, we believe we are able to attract and retain highly productive agents and motivated franchisees. As a result, our agents and franchisees help to further enhance our brand and market share, expand our franchise network, and ultimately grow our revenue, as illustrated below:

 

 

The RE/MAX Growth Engine leads to the following unique benefits for our franchisees and agents and RE/MAX:

 

RE/MAX Franchisee and Agent Benefits

  

RE/MAX Benefits

●  Affiliation with the best brand in the real estate industry

  

●  Network effect drives brand awareness

●  Entrepreneurial culture

  

●  Franchise fee structure provides recurring revenue streams

●  High agent commission split and low franchise fees

  

●  Franchise model—highly profitable with low capital requirements—leads to strong cash flow generation and high margins

●  Access to our lead referral system which is supported by our high traffic websites

●  Comprehensive, award-winning training programs

  

 

 

  

 

7


 

Our Franchise Structure

Franchise Organizational Model. We function under the following franchise organizational model, with nearly all of the RE/MAX branded brokerage office locations being operated by franchisees:

 

Franchise Tier

 

Description

RE/MAX

 

Owns the right to the RE/MAX brand and sells franchises and franchising rights.

 

Regional

Franchise Owner

 

 

Owns rights to sell brokerage franchises in a specified region. Current network of 162 regions globally. In the U.S. and Canada, RE/MAX owns 12 of 32 regional franchises, representing 55% of our U.S. and Canada agent count. The remaining 20 regional franchises, representing 45% of our U.S. and Canada agent count, are Independent Regions.

 

Franchisee

(or Broker-Owner)

 

 

Owns right to operate a RE/MAX-branded brokerage office, list properties and recruit agents. 6,751 offices globally, as of December 31, 2014.

 

Agent

(or Sales Associate)

 

 

Branded independent contractors who operate out of local franchise brokerage offices. 98,010 agents globally, as of December 31, 2014.

In the early years of our expansion in the U.S. and Canada, we sold regional franchise rights to independent owners for certain Independent Regions while retaining rights to other regions. In recent years, we have pursued a strategy to reacquire regional franchise rights, such as the California-Hawaii, Florida and Carolinas regions in 2007, the Mountain States region in 2011, the Texas region in 2012 and the Central Atlantic and Southwest regions in 2013.

Franchise Agreements and Relationship Terms. In those regions that are owned by us in the U.S. and Canada, we typically enter into a five-year renewable franchise agreement with franchisees covering a standard set of terms and conditions. For those regions that are independently owned, we enter into a long-term agreement (typically between 15 and 20 years, with up to three renewal periods of equal length) with the Independent Region owner, pursuant to which the regional franchise owner is authorized to enter into franchise agreements with individual franchisees in that region.

In general, the franchisees (or broker-owners) do not receive an exclusive territory except under certain limited circumstances. Prior to opening an office, a franchisee or principal owner is required to attend a four to five day training program at our global headquarters. We maintain a close relationship with our franchisees and provide them with ongoing training via our RE/MAX University® to help them better attract and train agents, market, and operate more effectively. Prospective franchisees, renewing franchisees, and transferees of a franchise are subject to a criminal background check and must meet certain subjective and objective standards, including those related to relevant experience, education, licensing, background, financial capacity, skills, integrity and other qualities of character.

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Our Revenue Model

The majority of our revenue is derived from a stable set of fees paid by our agents, franchisees and regional franchise owners.

Revenue Streams. Our revenue streams are illustrated in the following chart:

Revenue Streams as Percentage of 2014 Total Revenue

 

Continuing Franchise Fees. In the U.S. and Canada, continuing franchise fees are fixed contractual fees paid monthly by regional franchise owners in Independent Regions or franchisees in Company-owned Regions to RE/MAX based on the number of agents in the franchise region or the franchisee’s office.  Beginning January 1, 2014, continuing franchise fees increased $3 per month per agent in our U.S. Company-owned Regions.

Annual Dues. Annual dues are the membership fees that agents pay directly to RE/MAX to be a part of the RE/MAX network and use the RE/MAX brand. In 2013 and 2012, annual dues were a flat fee of US$390 for U.S. agents and CA$390 for Canadian agents. Beginning January 1, 2014, annual dues membership fees increased to US$400/CA$400 per agent annually for our U.S. and Canadian agents.

Broker Fees. Broker fees are assessed to the broker against real estate commissions paid by customers when an agent sells a home. Agents pay a negotiated percentage of these earned commissions to the broker in whose office they work. Broker-owners in turn pay a percentage of the commission to the regional franchisor. Generally, the amount paid by broker-owners to the regional franchisor, which we refer to as the “broker fee,” is 1% of the total commission on the transaction. The amount of commission collected by brokers is based primarily on the sales volume of RE/MAX agents, home sale prices in such sales and real estate commissions earned by agents on these transactions. Broker fees therefore vary based upon the overall health of the real estate industry and the volume of existing home sales in particular. This revenue stream is based on sales volume and provides us with incremental upside during a real estate market recovery.

Franchise Sales and Other Franchise Revenue. Franchise sales and other franchise revenue is primarily comprised of:

·

Franchise Sales. Franchise sales revenue consists of revenue from sales and renewals of individual franchises from Company-owned Regions and Independent Regions, as well as regional and country master franchises in global markets outside of North America. We receive only a portion of the revenue from the sales and renewals of individual franchises from Independent Regions.

·

Other Franchise Revenue. Other franchise revenue includes revenue from preferred marketing arrangements and approved supplier programs with third parties, including mortgage lenders and other real estate service providers, as well as event-based revenue from training and other programs, including our annual convention in the U.S.

Brokerage Revenue. Brokerage revenue principally represents fees assessed by our owned brokerages for services provided to their affiliated real estate agents. Our owned brokerage offices are solely in the U.S. and represent less than 1% of the over 3,400 real estate brokerage offices that operate under the RE/MAX brand name in the U.S.

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Revenue per Agent in U.S. and Canada Owned and Independent Regions. We receive a higher amount of revenue per agent in our Company-owned Regions than in our Independent Regions. While both Company-owned Regions and Independent Regions charge relatively similar fees to RE/MAX brokerages and agents, we receive the entire amount of the continuing franchise fee, broker fee and initial franchise and renewal fee in Company-owned Regions, whereas we receive only a portion of these fees in Independent Regions. We generally receive 15%, 20% or 30% of the amount of such fees in Independent Regions, which is a fixed rate in each particular Independent Region established by the terms of the applicable regional franchise agreement. In 2014, the annual revenue per agent in our Company-owned Regions was approximately $2,449, whereas the average annual revenue per agent in Independent Regions was approximately $821.

 

Franchise and Agent Fee Increases. Given the low fixed infrastructure cost of our franchise model, modest increases in aggregate fees per agent positively affect our profitability. Although we may pursue future opportunities to increase our aggregate fees per agent over time, our strategic focus is to grow agent count through recruiting programs and retention initiatives.

International Revenue. We base our continuing franchise fees, agent dues and broker fees outside the U.S. and Canada on the same structure as our Independent Regions, except that the aggregate level of such fees is substantially lower in these markets than in the U.S. and Canada.

Our revenue and agent count by geography are illustrated in the following charts:

 

Revenue by Geography

 

Percent of 2014 Revenue

  

Agents by Geography

 

As of Year-end 2014

  

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For additional financial information about our business by geographic area, see Note 18 to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Our Agent-Centric Approach

We believe that our agent-centric approach enables us to attract and retain highly effective agents and motivated franchisees to our network and drive growth in our business and profitability. We have built a franchise model designed to provide the following unique combination of benefits to our franchisees and agents:

·

Affiliation with the Best Brand in Residential Real Estate. We believe buyers and sellers of real estate are most comfortable doing business with an entity and brand with which they are familiar. We drive brand awareness through transaction activity and visibility in the market. The RE/MAX brand has held number one market share as measured by total residential transaction sides completed by our agents in both the U.S. and Canada since 1999. We reinforce brand awareness through marketing and advertising programs that are supported by promotional campaigns of our franchisees and agents in their local markets. RE/MAX has surpassed all U.S. real estate franchises in television advertising every year from 2002 to 2014, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus total unequivalized ad impressions among adults of ages from 25 to 54 for ads purchased through nationwide buys (not including Spanish-language television).

·

Entrepreneurial, High Performance Culture. We attract highly driven professionals through our recruiting and franchise sales efforts. We provide our franchisees and agents with a vast array of industry-leading tools, resources and support, but allow them autonomy to run their businesses independently. Our approach gives them the freedom generally to set commission rates and oversee local advertising in order to best meet the needs of their particular markets and circumstances. As we say to our agents, they are “in business for themselves, but not by themselves.”

·

High Agent Commission Fee Split and Low Franchise Fees. In the RE/MAX franchise network, we recommend to our franchisees an agent-favorable commission split of 95%/5% (with the agent receiving 95%). In exchange for the agent generally retaining a high percentage of commissions, our agents pay the franchise broker a pre-agreed sum to share the overhead and other fixed costs of the brokerage. This model is highly attractive to high-producing agents because it allows them to earn a higher commission compared to traditional brokerages where the broker typically takes 30% to 40% of the agent’s commission.

·

Lead Referral Systems Supported by High Traffic Websites. We provide an attractive lead referral system to our agents free of referral fees. We believe that this system is attractive to our agents and franchisees and that no other national real estate brand provides their real estate agents comparable access to free leads. Our websites, including remax.com, global.remax.com, theremaxcollection.com and remaxcommercial.com, collectively were visited over 70.0 million times in 2014. In addition, the traffic across our websites provides listed properties additional exposure to potential buyers. When a prospective buyer inquires about a property displayed on our websites, or the websites of certain of our regions, offices, and agents, a RE/MAX agent receives this lead through our lead referral system, LeadStreet®, without a referral fee. Our LeadStreet® system has sent over 14.0 million free leads to our agents since 2006. Our expansive global network of agents also generates traditional agent-to-agent leads, such as when a relocating home seller wants their RE/MAX agent’s referral for an agent to help them buy in their new area, or a customer’s business needs the specialized assistance of a RE/MAX Commercial® practitioner.

·

RE/MAX University® Training Programs. RE/MAX is an industry leader in providing comprehensive education programs for franchisees and agents. RE/MAX agents and brokers have enrolled in more than 90,000 professional designations, certifications or other courses through our proprietary education systems. In 1994, RE/MAX created the revolutionary RE/MAX Satellite Network, which was the only real estate related educational and training system of its kind for over a decade. In 2007, RE/MAX introduced RE/MAX University®, or RU, which offers worldwide, 24/7, on-demand access to the latest information on key industry topics and is aimed at helping our global network of agents deliver the best service possible to their existing and potential new customers. RE/MAX University further enhances our agent expertise by equipping agents with advanced training in areas such as distressed properties, luxury properties, senior clients, buyer agency and many other specialty areas of real estate. For example, 34% of the 46,000 real estate agents in the U.S. who hold the Certified Distressed Property Expert (“CDPE”) designation are RE/MAX agents, while the closest competitor comprises only 11% of the total CDPE designees. Among Certified Residential Specialists (“CRS”), which is often considered the premier advanced education designation in the residential real estate space, RE/MAX has more designees than the next two national franchise brands combined.

Our Growth Strategy

We intend to leverage our market leadership in the residential real estate brokerage industry in the U.S. and Canada through various growth initiatives. The key elements of our growth strategy include:

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Capitalize on Recovery in the U.S. Residential Real Estate Market and Increase Our Agent Count. Since 2006, the residential real estate industry across the globe, and especially in the U.S., experienced a historic downturn, including a significant decline in the number of agents in the business. The residential real estate market in the U.S. is in a recovery and we are well positioned to capitalize on this trend due, in large part, to our leading brand and the quality of our agent and franchise network. Based on our experience, we believe gradually improving market conditions in the U.S. will enable us to continue to sell franchises and recruit and retain higher numbers of agents, increasing our revenue and profitability. We experienced agent losses during the downturn, but we returned to a period of net agent growth in 2012 and our growth in agent count accelerated in 2013 and 2014. As the housing market continues to improve, we expect the growth in our agent count to continue.

Agent Count

Number of Agents at Quarter-End

 

 

We believe our high-performing agent network has led to better performance in the number of closed transaction sides than the industry as a whole. For example, while existing U.S. home transactions fell 2.9% in 2014 according to NAR, U.S. RE/MAX agents’ closed residential transaction sides decreased by only 1.5%. In an improving market, a continuation of above-average performance would provide us with an opportunity for incremental upside in increased Broker Fees, and helps us tout the productivity of the RE/MAX network in our efforts to recruit and retain agents. We believe we are well positioned to capitalize on any improvement in the U.S. residential real estate market.

Drive Continuing Franchise Sales Growth and Agent Recruitment and Retention. Our business strategy is to continue to sell franchises and recruit and retain agents:

We sold 767 franchises in 2014 and intend to continue adding franchises in new and existing markets, and as a result, increase our global market share and brand awareness. In the U.S., we believe we will increase the sales of our franchises as the U.S. housing recovery continues. We believe we are also well-positioned to further grow the number of our franchises outside the U.S. and Canada, where the growth potential for the RE/MAX brand is substantial, particularly in faster growing international markets. In the last five years, the number of RE/MAX agents outside the U.S. and Canada increased at a CAGR of 9%.

We intend to continue to focus on recruiting and retaining agents, as each incremental agent leverages our existing infrastructure, allowing us to drive additional revenue at little incremental cost. We intend to focus on recruitment and retention of agents through a range of new and existing programs and tools, including increasingly targeted marketing and promotional efforts, additional hiring of franchise sales representatives, improved training and development programs for franchisees and agents, and benefits to both agents and franchisees from our network infrastructure such as our high-traffic websites and lead referral system.

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Reacquire Independent RE/MAX Regional Franchises. We intend to continue to pursue reacquisitions of the regional RE/MAX franchise rights in a number of Independent Regions in the U.S. and Canada. The reacquisition of a regional franchise substantially increases our revenue per agent and provides an opportunity for us to drive enhanced profitability, as we receive a higher amount of revenue per agent in our Company-owned Regions than in our Independent Regions. For example, we can establish operational efficiencies and improvements in financial performance of a reacquired region by leveraging our existing infrastructure and experience.

While both Company-owned Regions and Independent Regions charge relatively similar fees to their brokerages and agents, we receive the entire amount of the continuing franchise fee, broker fee and initial franchise and renewal fee in Company-owned Regions, whereas we receive a fixed percentage (generally 15%, 20% or 30%) of such fees in Independent Regions, according to the terms of the applicable regional franchise agreement. In 2014, the annual revenue per agent in our Company-owned Regions was approximately $2,449, whereas the average annual revenue per agent in Independent Regions was approximately $821. By reacquiring regional franchise rights, we can capture 100% of the fees referred to above and substantially increase the average revenue per agent for agents in the reacquired region, which, as a result of our low fixed-cost structure, further increases our overall margins.

 

 

 

 

Recent History of Re-Acquiring

Independent Regional Rights

 

Year*

  

Region

  

Current Agents**

 

1998

  

Western Canada

  

6,261

 

1999

  

Pennsylvania / Delaware

  

3,056

 

2007

  

California & Hawaii

  

5,684

 

2007

  

Florida

  

4,916

 

2007

  

Carolinas

  

1,875

 

2011

  

Mountain States

  

3,507

 

2012

  

Texas

  

5,097

 

2013

  

Central Atlantic

  

4,093

 

2013

  

Southwest

  

2,031

 

 * Year of Acquisition** As of December 31, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Owned Regions

12 regions

55%

of US/CA agents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independent Regions

20 regions

45%

 

 

 

 

We currently franchise directly in Company-owned Regions representing 55% of our agents in the U.S. and Canada combined, while the remaining 45% of our U.S. and Canada combined agent count operate in 20 Independent Regions.

Competition

The real estate brokerage franchise business is highly competitive. We primarily compete against other real estate franchisors seeking to grow their franchise system. Our largest national competitors in the U.S. include the brands operated by Realogy Holdings Corp. (which include Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, Sothebys and Better Homes and Gardens), Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Keller Williams Realty, Inc. and Royal LePage. In most markets, we also compete against regional chains and against independently operating, non-franchise brokerages. In addition, we face competition from Internet-based and other brokers offering deeply discounted commissions, and our targeted efforts to consumers in order to connect them with a RE/MAX agent via our web sites faces competition from major real estate portals. We believe that competition in the real estate brokerage franchise business is based principally upon the reputational strength of the brand, the quality of the services offered to franchises, and the amount of franchise-related fees to be paid by franchisees.

The ability of our franchisees to compete with other real estate brokerages, both franchised and unaffiliated, is an important aspect of our growth strategy. A franchisee’s ability to compete may be affected by a variety of factors, including the quality of the franchisee’s independent agents, the location of the franchisee’s offices and the number of competing offices in the area. A franchisee’s success may also be affected by general, regional and local housing conditions, as well as overall economic conditions.

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Preferred Marketing and Supplier Arrangements

We have entered into preferred marketing arrangements providing various third parties, including mortgage lenders and other real estate service providers, with the opportunity to market their products and services to our franchisees and agents. Through these arrangements, we receive additional revenue in the form of fees paid for marketing access to our network of franchisees and agents.

In addition, with the collective buying power of company-owned and franchised brokerages, we have established a network of preferred suppliers whose products may be purchased directly by franchisees and agents. These relationships provide group discount prices, marketing materials that have been pre-vetted to comply with RE/MAX brand standards and higher quality materials that may not be cost-effective to procure on an individual office basis.

Marketing and Promotion

We believe that the strength of the RE/MAX brand and our iconic red, white and blue RE/MAX hot air balloon logo help to drive brand awareness. RE/MAX advertising, marketing and promotion campaigns increase the strength of our brand and generate leads for our agents. We believe the widespread recognition of our brand is a key aspect of our value proposition to agents and franchisees.

A variety of programs build our brand, including leading websites such as remax.com, advertising campaigns using television, print, billboards and signs, flyers, advertising inserts, Internet, email, social media and mobile applications. Event-based marketing programs, sponsorships, sporting activities and other similar functions also promote our brand. These include our support, since 1992 for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in the U.S. and Children's Miracle Network in Canada, to help sick and injured children. Through the Miracle Home® program, participating RE/MAX agents make a donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals once a home sale transaction is complete.

Nearly all of the advertising, marketing and promotion to support the RE/MAX brand is funded by our agents and franchisees. In the U.S. and Canada, there are two primary levels of advertising and promotion of our brand based on the source of funding for the activity: (i) regional advertising funds build and maintain brand awareness and drive real estate consumers to use RE/MAX agents through regional activities and media buys, including placement of RE/MAX’s advertising on a regional or pan-regional basis, and (ii) local campaigns that are paid for directly by agents and franchisees within their local markets. The regional advertising funds are funded by our agents through fees that our brokers collect and pay to the regional advertising funds.

Regional Advertising Funds. Regional advertising funds primarily support advertising campaigns focused on building and maintaining brand awareness at the regional level. These regional advertising funds in Company-owned Regions are corporations owned by our controlling stockholder as trustee for RE/MAX agents. Their activities are directed by our Company-owned Regions. For the fiscal year ended January 31, 2015, franchisee contributions to the regional advertising funds that promote the RE/MAX brand in Company-owned Regions were $40.8 million. The RE/MAX brand is promoted in Independent Regions by other regional advertising funds. On occasion, the advertising funds in Company-owned Regions, together with some or all of the advertising funds in Independent Regions, may contribute to national or pan-regional creative development and media purchases.

Local Campaigns. Our franchisees and agents engage in extensive promotional efforts within their local markets to attract customers and drive agent and brand awareness within the local market. These programs are subject to brand guidelines and quality standards that we establish for use of the RE/MAX brand, but we allow our franchisees and agents substantial flexibility to create advertising, marketing and promotion programs that are tailored to local market conditions. We believe that the marketing, advertising and promotion expenditures by our agents and franchisees at the local level substantially exceed the amounts allocated to the national and regional advertising funds each year.

National Advertising Fund. Through 2014, a portion of agents’ contributions to regional advertising funds in Company-owned and Independent Regions were remitted to a national advertising fund that centralized some national expenditures.  For the national advertising fund’s fiscal year ended January 31, 2015, aggregate U.S. franchisee contributions were $28.8 million. During the third quarter of 2014, our regional franchise owners adopted a change in the marketing strategy for the regional and national advertising funds. Beginning in January 2015, the national advertising fund was discontinued and the RE/MAX advertising strategy focuses on targeted, regional and local marketing. The amount of fees paid by each agent has not changed, but advertising dollars traditionally remitted to the national advertising fund and used for national television campaigns prospectively will be retained and managed by the regional advertising funds for use in regional programs, presenting valuable marketing opportunities at the regional and local level. Notwithstanding the discontinuance of the national advertising fund, on occasion, the advertising funds in Company-owned Regions, together with some or all of the advertising funds in Independent Regions, may contribute to national or pan-regional creative development and media purchases. We expect this transition to be completed during 2015. We are currently evaluating the impact that this change in advertising strategy may have on our future results of operations, if any.

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Intellectual Property

We protect the RE/MAX brand through a combination of trademarks and copyrights. We have registered “RE/MAX” as a trademark in the U.S., Canada, and over 150 other countries and territories, and have registered various versions of the RE/MAX balloon logo and real estate yard sign design in numerous countries and territories as well. We also have filed other trademark applications in the U.S. and certain other jurisdictions, and will pursue additional trademark registrations and other intellectual property protection to the extent we believe it would be beneficial and cost effective. We also are the registered holder of a variety of domain names that include “remax” and similar variations.

History and Structure

RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (“RE/MAX Holdings”) is a Delaware corporation formed on June 25, 2013 for the purpose of facilitating an IPO of its common equity and to become the sole managing member of RMCO, LLC (“RMCO”).  Prior to October 7, 2013, RE/MAX Holdings had not engaged in any substantial business or activities.    

On October 7, 2013, we issued and sold 11,500,000 shares of our Class A common stock at a public offering price of $22.00 per share in our IPO and became a member and the sole manager of RMCO.  We are a holding company and, as of December 31, 2014, we own 39.89% of the common units in RMCO, while RIHI, Inc. (“RIHI”), one of RMCO’s historical owners, owns the remaining 60.11% of common units in RMCO.  Our only business is to act as the sole manager of RMCO and, in that capacity, we operate and control all of the business and affairs of RMCO.  As a result, on October 7, 2013, we began to consolidate the financial results of RMCO and its subsidiaries. Due to RIHI’s approximate 60% equity interest in RMCO, our post-IPO results reflect a significant non-controlling interest and our pre-tax income represents approximately 40% of RMCO’s net income.  Our only source of cash flow from operations is in the form of distributions from RMCO and management fees paid by RMCO pursuant to a management services agreement between us and RMCO.

The diagram below depicts our organizational structure (and percentages of voting power and Common Unit ownership, as of December 31, 2014).

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Through its ownership of 100% of our outstanding Class B common stock, RIHI holds a majority of the voting power in RE/MAX Holdings. Shares of Class B common stock entitle the holder, without regard to the number of shares of Class B common stock held, to a number of votes on matters presented to stockholders of RE/MAX Holdings that is equal to two times the aggregate number of common units of RMCO held by such holder. In addition, each common unit of RMCO held by RIHI is redeemable for, at RE/MAX Holdings’ option, newly issued shares of Class A common stock in RE/MAX Holdings on a one-for-one basis or a cash payment equal to the market price of one share of Class A common stock.  If RIHI redeemed all of its common units in RMCO for newly issued shares of Class A common stock on December 31, 2014, RIHI would own approximately 60.11% of the shares of RE/MAX Holdings Class A common stock, and RE/MAX Holdings would own all of the common units in RMCO. RIHI is a Delaware corporation that is majority owned and controlled by David Liniger, our Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Co-Founder, and Gail Liniger, our Vice Chair and Co-Founder.  Vincent Tracey, our President, and Daryl Jesperson, a director, hold minority ownership interests in RIHI.

Employees

As of December 31, 2014, we had approximately 399 employees, including 22 employees located in Western Canada, 283 in our corporate headquarters and 94 in our owned brokerage offices (which includes office staff, but not independent contractor sales associates affiliated with our owned brokerages) throughout the U.S.  Other than with respect to our owned brokerage offices, our franchisees are independent businesses and their employees and independent contractor sales associates are therefore not included in our employee count. None of our employees are represented by a union. We believe our relations with our employees are good.

Seasonality

The residential housing market is seasonal with transactional activity in the U.S. and Canada peaking in the second and third quarter of each year. Our results of operations are somewhat affected by these seasonal trends. Our Adjusted EBITDA margins are often lower in the first and fourth quarters due primarily to the impact of lower broker fees and other revenue as a result of lower overall sales volume, as well as higher selling, operating and administrative expenses in the first quarter for expenses incurred in connection with our annual convention.

Government Regulation

Franchise Regulation. The sale of franchises is regulated by various state laws, as well as by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). The FTC requires that franchisors make extensive disclosure to prospective franchisees but does not require registration. A number of states require registration or disclosure by franchisors in connection with franchise offers and sales. Several states also have “franchise relationship laws” or “business opportunity laws” that limit the ability of the franchisor to terminate franchise agreements or to withhold consent to the renewal or transfer of these agreements. The states with relationship or other statutes governing the termination of franchises include Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Some franchise relationship statutes require a mandated notice period for termination; some require a notice and cure period; and some require that the franchisor demonstrate good cause for termination. Although we believe that our franchise agreements comply with these statutory requirements, failure to comply with these laws could result in our company incurring civil liability. In addition, while historically our franchising operations have not been materially adversely affected by such regulation, we cannot predict the effect of any future federal or state legislation or regulation.

Real Estate Regulation. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”) and state real estate brokerage laws restrict payments which real estate brokers and other service providers in the real estate industry may receive or pay in connection with the sales of residences and referral of settlement services, such as mortgages, homeowners insurance and title insurance. Such laws may to some extent restrict preferred vendor programs involving our real estate franchise and real estate brokerage businesses. In addition, with respect to our company-owned real estate brokerages, RESPA and similar state laws require timely disclosure of certain relationships or financial interests with providers of real estate settlement services. Our company-owned real estate brokerage business is also subject to numerous federal, state and local laws and regulations that provide standards for and prohibitions on the conduct of real estate brokers and agents.

Available Information

RE/MAX Holdings is a Delaware corporation and its principal executive offices are located at 5075 South Syracuse Street, Denver, Colorado 80237, telephone (303) 770-5531. The Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports are available free of charge through the “Investor Relations” portion of the Company’s web site, www.remax.com, as soon as reasonably practical after they are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains a web site, www.sec.gov, which contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information filed electronically with the SEC by the Company.

 

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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries (collectively, the “Company,” “we,” “our” or “us”) could be adversely impacted by various risks and uncertainties. An investment in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the following risk factors, as well as all of the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto before making an investment decision. If any of these risks actually occur, our business, financial condition, operating results, cash flow and prospects may be materially and adversely affected. As a result, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline and you could lose some or all of your investment.

We have grouped our risks according to:

·

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry;

·

Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure; and

·

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

The residential real estate market is cyclical and we are negatively impacted by downturns in this market and general global economic conditions.

The residential real estate market tends to be cyclical and typically is affected by changes in general economic conditions which are beyond our control. These conditions include short-term and long-term interest rates, inflation, fluctuations in debt and equity capital markets, levels of unemployment, consumer confidence and the general condition of the U.S. and the global economy. The residential real estate market also depends upon the strength of financial institutions, which are sensitive to changes in the general macroeconomic and regulatory environment. Lack of available credit or lack of confidence in the financial sector could impact the residential real estate market, which in turn could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

For example, the U.S. residential real estate market has shown signs of recovery in recent years after having been in a significant and prolonged downturn, which began in the second half of 2005. Due to the cyclicality of the real estate market, we cannot predict whether the recovery will continue or if and when the market and related economic forces will return the U.S. residential real estate industry to a period of sustained growth. If the residential real estate market or the economy as a whole does not continue to improve, we may experience adverse effects on our business, financial condition and liquidity, including our ability to access capital and grow our business.

Any of the following could cause a decline in the housing market and have a material adverse effect on our business by causing periods of lower growth or a decline in the number of home sales and/or home prices which, in turn, could adversely affect our revenue and profitability:

·

an increase in the unemployment rate;

·

a decrease in the affordability of homes due to changes in interest rates, home sale prices, and rates of wage and job growth;

·

slow economic growth or recessionary conditions;

·

weak credit markets;

·

a low level of consumer confidence in the economy and/or the residential real estate market;

·

instability of financial institutions;

·

legislative, tax or regulatory changes that would adversely impact the residential real estate market, including but not limited to potential reform relating to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other government sponsored entities (“GSEs”) that provide liquidity to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets;

·

increasing mortgage rates and down payment requirements and/or constraints on the availability of mortgage financing, including but not limited to the potential impact of various provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) or other legislation and regulations that may be promulgated thereunder relating to mortgage financing, including restrictions imposed on mortgage originators as well as retention levels required to be maintained by sponsors to securitize certain mortgages;

·

excessive or insufficient regional home inventory levels;

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·

high levels of foreclosure activity, including but not limited to the release of homes already held for sale by financial institutions;

·

adverse changes in local or regional economic conditions;

·

the inability or unwillingness of homeowners to enter into home sale transactions due to negative equity in their existing homes;

·

a decrease in family formations;

·

a decrease in immigration;

·

local, state and federal government laws or regulations that burden residential real estate transactions or ownership, including but not limited to changes in the tax laws, such as potential limits on, or elimination of, the deductibility of certain mortgage interest expense, the application of the alternative minimum tax, and real property taxes and employee relocation expense;

·

a decrease in home ownership rates, declining demand for real estate and changing social attitudes toward home ownership; and/or

·

acts of nature, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters that disrupt local or regional real estate markets.

The failure of the U.S. residential real estate market recovery to be sustained or a prolonged decline in the number of home sales and/or home sale prices could adversely affect our revenue and profitability.

The U.S. residential real estate market has shown signs of recovery after having been in a significant and prolonged downturn, which began in the second half of 2005. However, we do not know if this recovery will continue in the future or if and when the market and related economic forces will return the U.S. residential real estate industry to a period of sustained growth. A lack of a continued recovery or a prolonged decline in existing home sales, a decline in home sale prices or a decline in commission rates charged by our franchisees/brokers could adversely affect our results of operations by reducing the recurring fees we receive from our franchisees, our agents and our company-owned brokerages and reduce the management fees charged by our company-owned brokerages.

A lack of financing for homebuyers in the U.S. residential real estate market at favorable rates and on favorable terms could have a material adverse effect on our financial performance and results of operations.

Our business is significantly impacted by the availability of financing at favorable rates or on favorable terms for homebuyers, which may be affected by government regulations and policies. Certain potential reforms such as the U.S. federal government’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, proposals to reform the U.S. housing market, attempts to increase loan modifications for homeowners with negative equity, monetary policy of the U.S. government, any rising interest rate environment and the Dodd-Frank Act may adversely impact the housing industry, including homebuyers’ ability to finance and purchase homes.

The monetary policy of the U.S. government, and particularly the Federal Reserve Board, which regulates the supply of money and credit in the U.S., significantly affects the availability of financing at favorable rates and on favorable terms, which in turn affects the domestic real estate market. Policies of the Federal Reserve Board can affect interest rates available to potential homebuyers. Further, we are affected by any rising interest rate environment. Changes in the Federal Reserve Board’s policies, the interest rate environment and mortgage market are beyond our control, are difficult to predict and could restrict the availability of financing on reasonable terms for homebuyers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, the possibility of the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction could have an adverse effect on the housing market by reducing incentives for buying or refinancing homes and negatively affecting property values.

In addition, the reduction in government support for home financing, including the possible winding down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, further reduces the availability of financing for homebuyers in the U.S. residential real estate market. In connection with the U.S. federal government’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it has provided billions of dollars of funding to these entities in the form of preferred stock investments to backstop shortfalls in their capital requirements. The U.S. Treasury has indicated it may accelerate the winding down of these entities, but no consensus has emerged in Congress concerning a successor, if any. Given the current uncertainty with respect to the current and further potential reforms relating to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we cannot predict either the short or long term effects of such regulation and its impact on homebuyers’ ability to finance and purchase homes. In an effort to assist recovery of the housing market, the U.S. government has also attempted to increase loan modifications for homeowners with negative equity, but there can be no assurance that such measures will be effective.

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Furthermore, in the wake of the recent downturn in the housing industry, many lenders have significantly tightened their underwriting standards, and many subprime and other alternative mortgage products are no longer common in the marketplace. If these trends continue and mortgage loans continue to be difficult to obtain, including in the jumbo mortgage markets, the ability and willingness of prospective buyers to finance home purchases or to sell their existing homes will be adversely affected, which will adversely affect our operating results.

Due to diminished cash reserves, the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) has, in recent years, been increasing mortgage insurance premium and loan guarantee fees.  This has likely contributed to a significant decline in FHA loan applications.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the guarantors of many home loans, have considered similar fee increases. If implemented, such increases could lead to lower demand for certain mortgages, which could have a negative effect on our operating results.

The Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed to more closely regulate the financial services industry, created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), an independent federal bureau, which enforces consumer protection laws, including mortgage finance. The Dodd-Frank Act also established new standards and practices for mortgage originators, including determining a prospective borrower’s ability to repay their mortgage, removing incentives for higher cost mortgages, prohibiting prepayment penalties for non-qualified mortgages, prohibiting mandatory arbitration clauses, requiring additional disclosures to potential borrowers and restricting the fees that mortgage originators may collect. Rules enacted under the Dodd Frank Act relating to borrowers’ ability to repay loans took effect in January 2014. These rules create protection from liability for mortgages that meet the requirements for “qualified mortgages.” The rules place several restrictions on qualified mortgages, including caps on certain closing costs. These rules and other rules promulgated by the CFPB could have a significant impact on the availability of home mortgages. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act contained provisions that require GSEs, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to retain an interest in the credit risk arising from the assets they securitize. This may serve to reduce GSEs’ interest in or demand for mortgage loans, which could have a material adverse effect on the mortgage industry, which may reduce the availability of mortgages to certain borrowers.

While we are continuing to evaluate all aspects of the current state of legislation, regulations and policies affecting the domestic real estate market, we cannot predict whether or not such legislation, regulation and policies may result in increased down payment requirements, increased mortgage costs, and result in increased costs and potential litigation for housing market participants, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We may fail to successfully execute our strategies to grow our business, including increasing our agent count, expanding our network of franchises and agents, pursuing reacquisitions of the regional franchise rights in a number of RE/MAX regions in the U.S. and Canada and increasing franchise and agent fees, or we may fail to manage our growth effectively, which could have a material adverse effect on our brand, our financial performance and results of operations.

We intend to pursue a number of different strategies to grow our revenue and earnings. However, we may not be able to successfully execute these strategies. Based on our experience, we believe gradually improving market conditions in the U.S. will enable us to sell more franchises and recruit and retain higher numbers of agents, increasing our revenue and profitability. As the housing market recovery continues, we expect the growth in our agent count to continue. However, competition for qualified and effective agents is intense, and we may be unable to recruit and retain enough qualified and effective agents to satisfy our growth strategies.

An additional key growth strategy is to expand our network of franchises and agents in the U.S., Canada and globally. However, we may face many challenges in adding franchises and attracting agents in new and existing markets, such as:

·

selection and availability of suitable markets;

·

finding qualified franchisees in these markets who are interested in opening franchises on terms that are favorable to us;

·

significant competition in new and existing markets;

·

increasing our local brand awareness in new markets;

·

attracting and training of qualified local agents;

·

impact of inclement weather, natural disasters and other acts of nature; and

·

general economic and business conditions.

We are also pursuing a key growth strategy of reacquiring select RE/MAX independent regional franchises in the U.S. and Canada. The reacquisition of a regional franchise increases our revenue and provides an opportunity for us to drive enhanced profitability. This growth strategy depends on our ability to find regional franchisees willing to sell the franchise rights in their regions on favorable terms and to finance and complete these transactions. While we intend to conduct due diligence and implement controls and procedures as we integrate a reacquired region, we may not be able to achieve the expected returns on our acquisition.

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Integrating acquired regions involves complex operational and personnel-related challenges and we may encounter higher than expected integration costs associated with the reacquisitions of Independent Regions.

Future acquisitions may present similar challenges and difficulties, including:

·

the possible departure of a significant number of key employees;

·

regulatory constraints and costs of executing our growth strategy may vary by geography;

·

the possible defection of franchisees and agents to other brands or independent real estate companies;

·

the disruption of our respective ongoing business;

·

problems we may discover post-closing with the operations, including the internal controls and procedures of the regions we reacquire;

·

the failure to maintain important business relationships and contracts of the selling region;

·

impairment of acquired assets;

·

unanticipated expenses related to integration; and

·

potential unknown liabilities associated with acquired businesses.

A prolonged diversion of management’s attention and any delays or difficulties encountered in connection with the integration of any acquired region or region that we may acquire in the future could prevent us from realizing the anticipated cost savings and revenue growth from our acquisitions.

In order to successfully expand our business, we must effectively recruit, develop and motivate new franchisees, and we must maintain the beneficial aspects of our corporate culture. We may not be able to hire new employees and our franchisees may not be able to recruit new agents necessary to manage our growth quickly enough to meet our needs. If we fail to effectively manage our hiring needs and successfully develop our franchisees, our franchisee and employee morale, productivity and retention could suffer, and our brand and results of operations could be harmed. Effectively managing our potential growth could require significant capital expenditures and place increasing demands on our management. We may not be successful in managing or expanding our operations or in maintaining adequate financial and operating systems and controls. If we do not successfully manage these processes, our brand and results of operations could be adversely affected.

The failure to attract and retain highly qualified franchisees could compromise our ability to pursue our growth strategy.

Our most important asset is our people, and the success of our franchisees depends largely on the efforts and abilities of franchisees and their agents, which are subject to numerous factors, including the fees or sales commissions they receive, as applicable, and their perception of our brand value. If our franchisees do not continue to recognize or believe in the value proposition we offer with our brand, believe that our franchise fees are too high, or decide not to renew their franchise agreements with us for any other reason, our business may be materially adversely affected. Additionally, if our franchisees fail to attract and retain agents, they may fail to generate the revenue necessary to pay the contractual fees owed to us.

Our financial results are affected by the ability of our franchisees to attract and retain agents.

Our financial results are heavily dependent upon the number of agents in our global network. The majority of our revenue is derived from recurring dues paid by our agents and contractual fees paid by our franchisees or regional franchise owners based on the number of agents within the franchisee’s or regional franchise owner’s network. If our franchisees are not able to attract and retain agents, our revenue may decline. In addition, our competitors may attempt to recruit the agents of our franchisees.

Our business depends on a strong brand, and any failure to maintain, protect and enhance our brand would hurt our ability to grow our business, particularly in new markets where we have limited brand recognition.

We have developed a strong brand that we believe has contributed significantly to the success of our business. Maintaining, protecting and enhancing the “RE/MAX” brand is critical to growing our business, particularly in new markets where we have limited brand recognition. If we do not successfully build and maintain a strong brand, our business could be materially harmed. Maintaining and enhancing the quality of our brand may require us to make substantial investments in areas such as marketing, community relations, outreach and employee training. We actively engage in television, print and online advertisements, targeted promotional mailings and email communications, and engage on a regular basis in public relations and sponsorship activities. These investments may be substantial and may not ultimately be successful.

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We have recently adopted a change in strategy that will focus our advertising efforts in the U.S. on regional and local advertising.  As part of this approach, we are in the process of shifting advertising expenditures away from our national advertising fund to our regional advertising funds.  We expect this transition to be completed during 2015.  In 2016, funds previously allocated to the RE/MAX national advertising fund will be managed and invested by the separate RE/MAX regional advertising funds.   These regional advertising funds will continue to be funded by our agents through fees that our brokers collect and pay to the regional advertising funds.  Local advertising and promotion campaigns are paid directly by agents and franchisees within their local markets. Our change in strategy to focus on regional and local advertising in the U.S. may not be successful and the decrease of national advertising may have an adverse impact on our business and results of operation in future periods. We are currently evaluating the impact that this change in advertising strategy may have on our future results of operations, if any.

Brand value can be severely damaged even by isolated incidents, particularly if the incidents receive considerable negative publicity or result in litigation. Some of these incidents may relate to the way we manage our relationship with our franchisees, our growth strategies or the ordinary course of our business or our franchisees’ business. Other incidents may arise from events that are or may be beyond our ability to control and may damage our brand, such as actions taken (or not taken) by one or more franchisees or their employees relating to health, safety, welfare or other matters; litigation and claims; failure to maintain high ethical and social standards for all of our operations and activities; failure to comply with local laws and regulations; and illegal activity targeted at us or others. Our brand value could diminish significantly if any such incidents or other matters erode consumer confidence in us, which may result in a decrease in our total agent count and, ultimately, lower continuing franchise fees and annual dues, which in turn would materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.

Competition in the residential real estate franchising business is intense and may adversely affect our financial performance.

We generally face strong competition in the residential real estate services business. As a real estate brokerage franchisor, one of our primary assets is our brand name. Upon the expiration of a franchise agreement, a franchisee may choose to renew their franchise with us, operate as an independent broker or to franchise with one of our competitors. Competing franchisors may offer franchises monthly ongoing fees that are lower than those we charge, or that are more attractive in particular market environments. Further, our largest competitors in this industry in the U.S. and Canada include the brands operated by Realogy Holdings, Corp., (which include Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA, Sothebys and Better Homes and Gardens, among others), Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Keller Williams Realty, Inc. and Royal LePage. Some of these companies may have greater financial resources and larger budgets than we do. To remain competitive in the sale of franchises and to retain our existing franchisees at the time of the renewal of their franchise agreements, we may have to reduce the cost of renewals and/or the recurring monthly fees we charge our franchisees. Further, in certain areas, regional and local franchisors provide additional competitive pressure.

Our company-owned brokerage business operates in the real estate brokerage business, which is highly competitive.

Our company-owned brokerage business, like that of our franchisees, is generally subject to intense competition. We compete with other national and independent real estate organizations including our franchisees and those of other national real estate franchisors, franchisees of local and regional real estate franchisors, regional independent real estate organizations, discount brokerages, Internet-based brokerages and smaller niche companies competing in local areas. Competition is particularly intense in the densely populated metropolitan areas in which we operate. In addition, in the real estate brokerage industry, new participants face minimal barriers to entry into the market. We also compete for the services of qualified licensed agents, as well as franchisees. The ability of our company-owned brokerage offices to retain agents is generally subject to numerous factors, including the sales commissions they receive and their perception of brand value.

Our franchisees or agents may become dissatisfied with their relationship with us.

Although we believe our relationship with our franchisees and agents is open and strong, the nature of such relationships can give rise to conflict. For example, franchisees or agents may become dissatisfied with the amount of contractual fees and dues owed under franchise or other applicable arrangements, particularly in the event that we decide to further increase fees and dues. They may disagree with certain network-wide policies and procedures, including policies such as those dictating brand standards or affecting their marketing efforts. They may also be disappointed with any marketing campaigns designed to develop our brand. There are a variety of reasons why our franchisor franchisee relationship can give rise to conflict. If we experience any conflicts with our franchisees on a large scale, our franchisees may file lawsuits against us or they may seek to disaffiliate with us, which could also result in litigation. These events may, in turn, materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.

Regional master and broker franchisees, as independent business operators may, from time to time, disagree with us and our strategies regarding the business or our interpretation of our respective rights and obligations under our franchise and other agreements. This may lead to disputes and we expect such disputes to occur from time to time in the future. To the extent we have such disputes, the attention of our management, regional master franchisees and broker franchisees will be diverted, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

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Our financial results are affected directly by the operating results of franchisees and agents, over whom we do not have direct control.

Our real estate franchises generate revenue in the form of monthly ongoing fees, including monthly management fees and broker fees (which are tied to agent gross commissions) charged by our franchisees to our agents. Our agents pay us annual dues to have access to our network and utilize our services. Accordingly, our financial results depend upon the operational and financial success of our franchisees and their agents, whom we do not control, particularly in Independent Regions where we exercise less control over franchisees than in Company-owned Regions. If industry trends or economic conditions are not sustained or do not continue to improve, our franchisees’ financial results may worsen and our revenue may decline. We may also have to terminate franchisees more frequently in the future due to non-reporting and non-payment. Further, if franchisees fail to renew their franchise agreements, or if we decide to restructure franchise agreements in order to induce franchisees to renew these agreements, then our revenue from ongoing monthly fees may decrease, and profitability from new franchisees may be lower than in the past due to reduced ongoing monthly fees and other non-standard incentives we may need to provide.

Our franchisees and agents could take actions that could harm our business.

Our regional franchisees and brokerages are independent businesses and the agents who work with our company-owned brokerage operations are independent contractors and, as such, neither are our employees, and we do not exercise control over their day-to-day operations. Broker franchisees may not operate real estate brokerage businesses in a manner consistent with industry standards, or may not attract and retain qualified independent contractor agents. If broker franchisees and agents were to provide diminished quality of service to customers, our image and reputation may suffer materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

Additionally, broker franchisees and agents may engage or be accused of engaging in unlawful or tortious acts such as violating the anti-discrimination requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Such acts or the accusation of such acts could harm our business and our brand, reputation and goodwill.

The failure of Independent Region owners to successfully develop or expand within their respective regions could adversely impact our revenue.

We have sold regional master franchises in the U.S. and Canada and have sold and continue to sell regional master franchises in our global locations outside of Canada. While in recent years, we have pursued a strategy to reacquire the regional franchise rights in a number of regions in the U.S., we still rely on independent regional master franchises in Independent Regions, and in all regions located outside the U.S. and Canada. We derive only a limited portion of our revenue directly from master franchises. However, Independent Regions have the right to grant franchises within a particular region. The failure of any of these Independent Region owners to successfully develop or expand within their respective regions could result in the delay of the development of a particular region or an interruption in the operation of our brand in a particular market or markets. Any such delay or interruption would result in a delay in, or loss of, income to us, which would adversely impact our revenue, business and results of operations.

In addition, the termination of an agreement with a regional master franchisee could also result in the delay of the development of a franchised area, or an interruption in the operation of our brand in a particular market or markets, while we seek alternative methods to develop our franchises in the area. Such an event could result in lower revenue for us, which would adversely impact our business and results of operations.

We are subject to a variety of additional risks associated with our franchisees.

Our franchise system subjects us to a number of risks, any one of which may impact our ability to collect recurring, contractual fees and dues from our franchisees, may harm the goodwill associated with our brand, and/or may materially and adversely impact our business and results of operations.

Bankruptcy of U.S. Franchisees. A franchisee bankruptcy could have a substantial negative impact on our ability to collect fees and dues owed under such franchisee’s franchise arrangements. In a franchisee bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee may reject its franchise arrangements pursuant to Section 365 under the U.S. bankruptcy code, in which case there would be no further payments for fees and dues from such franchisee, and there can be no assurance as to the proceeds, if any, that may ultimately be recovered in a bankruptcy proceeding of such franchisee in connection with a damage claim resulting from such rejection.

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Franchisee Insurance. The franchise arrangements require each franchisee to maintain certain insurance types and levels. Certain extraordinary hazards, however, may not be covered, and insurance may not be available (or may be available only at prohibitively expensive rates) with respect to many other risks. Moreover, any loss incurred could exceed policy limits or the franchisee could lack the required insurance at the time the claim arises, in breach of the insurance requirement, and policy payments made to franchisees may not be made on a timely basis. Any such loss or delay in payment could have a material and adverse effect on a franchisee’s ability to satisfy its obligations under its franchise arrangement, including its ability to make payments for contractual fees and dues or to indemnify us.

Franchise Arrangement Termination; Nonrenewal. Each franchise arrangement is subject to termination by us as the franchisor in the event of a default, generally after expiration of applicable cure periods, although under certain circumstances a franchise arrangement may be terminated by us upon notice without an opportunity to cure. The default provisions under the franchise arrangements are drafted broadly and include, among other things, any failure to meet operating standards and actions that may threaten the licensed intellectual property.

In addition, each franchise agreement has an expiration date. Upon the expiration of the franchise arrangement, we or the franchisee may or may not elect to renew the franchise arrangement. If the franchisee arrangement is renewed, such renewal is generally contingent on the franchisee’s execution of the then-current form of franchise arrangement (which may include terms the franchisee deems to be more onerous than the prior franchise agreement), the satisfaction of certain conditions and the payment of a renewal fee. If a franchisee is unable or unwilling to satisfy any of the foregoing conditions, the expiring franchise arrangement will terminate upon expiration of the term of the franchise arrangement.

We may experience significant claims relating to our operations and losses resulting from fraud, defalcation, misconduct or negligence of our franchisees or agents.

Fraud, defalcation, misconduct and negligence by employees are risks inherent in our business. We may also, from time to time, be subject to liability claims based upon the fraud, misconduct or negligence of our franchisees and agents. To the extent that any loss or theft of funds substantially exceeds our insurance coverage, our business could be materially adversely affected and divert management’s attention.

In addition, we rely on the collection and use of personally identifiable information from franchisees, agents and consumers to conduct our business. We disclose our information collection and dissemination practices in a published privacy statement on our websites, which we may modify from time to time. We may be subject to legal claims, government action and damage to our reputation if we act or are perceived to be acting inconsistently with the terms of our privacy statement, consumer expectations, or the law. In the event we or the vendors with which we contract to provide services on behalf of our customers were to suffer a breach of personally identifiable information, our customers could terminate their business with us. Further, we may be subject to claims to the extent individual employees or independent contractors breach or fail to adhere to company policies and practices and such actions jeopardize any personally identifiable information.

The real estate brokerage business is highly regulated and any failure to comply with such regulations or any changes in such regulations could adversely affect our business.

Our company-owned real estate brokerage business and the businesses of our franchisees are highly regulated and must comply with the requirements governing the licensing and conduct of real estate brokerage and brokerage-related businesses in the jurisdictions in which we and they do business. These laws and regulations contain general standards for and prohibitions on the conduct of real estate brokers and agents, including those relating to licensing of brokers and agents, fiduciary and agency duties, administration of trust funds, collection of commissions, advertising and consumer disclosures. Under state law, the franchisees and our real estate brokers have certain duties to supervise and are responsible for the conduct of their brokerage business.

Our company-owned real estate brokerage business and the businesses of our franchisees (excluding commercial brokerage transactions) must comply with RESPA. RESPA and comparable state statutes, among other things, restrict payments which real estate brokers, agents and other settlement service providers may receive for the referral of business to other settlement service providers in connection with the closing of real estate transactions. Such laws may to some extent restrict preferred vendor arrangements involving our franchisees and our company-owned brokerage business. RESPA and similar state laws also require timely disclosure of certain relationships or financial interests that a broker has with providers of real estate settlement services. Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, administration of RESPA has been moved from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) to the new CFPB and it is possible that the practice of HUD taking very expansive readings of RESPA will continue or accelerate at the CFPB, which creates an increased regulatory risk.

There is a risk that we could be adversely affected by current laws, regulations or interpretations or that more restrictive laws, regulations or interpretations will be adopted in the future that could make compliance more difficult or expensive. There is also a risk that a change in current laws could adversely affect our business or our franchisees’ business.

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Regulatory authorities also have relatively broad discretion to grant, renew and revoke licenses and approvals and to implement regulations. Accordingly, such regulatory authorities could prevent or temporarily suspend our company-owned brokerages or our franchisees from carrying on some or all of our activities or otherwise penalize them if their financial condition or our practices were found not to comply with the then current regulatory or licensing requirements or any interpretation of such requirements by the regulatory authority. Our failure to comply with any of these requirements or interpretations could limit our ability to renew current franchisees or sign new franchisees or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our operations.

We, and our franchisees, are also, to a lesser extent, subject to various other rules and regulations such as:

·

the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which governs the disclosure and safeguarding of consumer financial information;

·

various state and federal privacy laws protecting consumer data;

·

the USA PATRIOT Act;

·

restrictions on transactions with persons on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list promulgated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury;

·

federal and state “Do Not Call,” “Do Not Fax,” and “Do Not E-Mail” laws;

·

the Fair Housing Act;

·

compliance with Affiliated Business Agreement regulations;

·

laws and regulations, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, that impose sanctions on improper payments;

·

laws and regulations in jurisdictions outside the U.S. in which we do business;

·

state and federal employment laws and regulations, including any changes that would require classification of independent contractors to employee status, and wage and hour regulations;

·

increases in state, local or federal taxes that could diminish profitability or liquidity; and

·

consumer fraud statutes that are broadly written.

Our failure to comply with any of the foregoing laws and regulations may subject us to fines, penalties, injunctions and/or potential criminal violations. Any changes to these laws or regulations or any new laws or regulations may make it more difficult for us to operate our business and may have a material adverse effect on our operations.

Our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for so long as we are an “emerging growth company.”

Under the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act until we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” We could be an “emerging growth company” until the end of our 2018 fiscal year.

Because we have not yet engaged an independent registered public accounting firm to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, we cannot conclude that such an audit would not uncover a material weakness in our internal controls or a combination of significant deficiencies that could result in the conclusion that we have a material weakness in our internal controls. Under rules of the SEC, a material weakness is defined as a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of a company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. We cannot assure you that material weaknesses will not be identified in the future.

If material weaknesses or other deficiencies occur in the future, or if we fail to fully maintain effective internal controls in the future, it could result in a material misstatement of our financial statements that would not be prevented or detected on a timely basis, which could require a restatement, cause investors to lose confidence in our financial information or cause our stock price to decline.

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Our franchising activities are subject to a variety of state and federal laws and regulations regarding franchises, and any failure to comply with such existing or future laws and regulations could adversely affect our business.

The sale of franchises is regulated by various state laws as well as by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). The FTC requires that franchisors make extensive disclosure to prospective franchisees but does not require registration. A number of states require registration and/or disclosure in connection with franchise offers and sales. In addition, several states have “franchise relationship laws” or “business opportunity laws” that limit the ability of franchisors to terminate franchise agreements or to withhold consent to the renewal or transfer of these agreements. We believe that our franchising procedures, as well as any applicable state-specific procedures, comply in all material respects with both the FTC guidelines and all applicable state laws regulating franchising in those states in which we offer new franchise arrangements. However, noncompliance could reduce anticipated revenue, which in turn may materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.

Most of our domestic and global regional franchisees self-report their agent counts, agent commissions and fees due to us, and we have limited tools to validate or verify these reports and a few of our domestic and global master franchise agreements do not contain audit rights. If a material number of our regional master franchisees were to under report or erroneously report their agent counts, agent commissions or fees due to us, it could have a material adverse effect on our financial performance and results of operations.

Under our regional franchise agreements, owners in our Independent Regions report the number of agents, monthly management fees and broker service fees received by the brokers from the agents and the monthly ongoing fees (continuing franchise fees and broker fees) payable to us by the brokers. Generally, our regional agreements require that the regional franchisee provide us with certain financial reports, including reports that we may reasonably request from time to time. Additionally, many of these agreements also provide us with audit rights. For those agreements that do not, we may have limited methods of validating the monthly ongoing fees due to us from these regions and must rely on reports submitted by such regional franchisees and our internal protocols for verifying agent counts. If such regional franchisees were to under report or erroneously report these amounts payable, even if unintentionally, we may not receive all of the annual agent dues or monthly ongoing fees due to us. In addition, to the extent that we were underpaid, we may not have a definitive method for determining such underpayment. If a material number of our regional franchisees were to under report or erroneously report their agent counts, agent commissions or fees due to us, it could have a material adverse effect on our financial performance and results of operations.

We are subject to certain risks related to litigation filed by or against us, and adverse results may harm our business and financial condition.

We cannot predict with certainty the costs of defense, the costs of prosecution, insurance coverage or the ultimate outcome of litigation and other proceedings filed by or against us, including remedies or damage awards, and adverse results in such litigation and other proceedings may harm our business and financial condition.

Such litigation and other proceedings may include, but are not limited to, complaints from or litigation by franchisees, usually related to alleged breaches of contract or wrongful termination under the franchise arrangements, actions relating to intellectual property, commercial arrangements, franchising arrangements, negligence and fiduciary duty claims arising from franchising arrangements or company-owned brokerage operations, breaches of fiduciary duty by our licensed brokers, standard brokerage disputes like the failure to disclose hidden defects in the property such as mold, vicarious liability based upon conduct of individuals or entities outside of our control, including franchisees and agents, antitrust claims, false advertising claims, general fraud claims and employment law claims, including claims challenging the classification of our agents as independent contractors, violations of state laws relating to business practices or consumer disclosures, and claims alleging violations of RESPA or state consumer fraud statutes. We may also be subject to employee claims based on, among other things, discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination.

Franchisees are subject to a variety of litigation risks, including, but not limited to, customer claims, personal injury claims, environmental claims, agent allegations of improper termination and discrimination, claims related to violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”) and intellectual property claims. Litigation against a franchisee or its affiliates by third parties, whether in the ordinary course of business or otherwise, may include claims against us by virtue of the franchise relationship. In addition to increasing costs and limiting the funds available to pay contractual fees and dues and reducing the execution of new franchise arrangements, such claims divert our management resources and could cause adverse publicity which may materially and adversely affect us and our brand, regardless of whether such allegations are valid or whether we are liable.

Our global operations may be subject to additional risks related to litigation, including difficulties in enforcement of contractual obligations governed by foreign law due to differing interpretations of rights and obligations, compliance with multiple and potentially conflicting laws, new and potentially untested laws and judicial systems and reduced or diminished protection of intellectual property. A substantial unsatisfied judgment against us or one of our subsidiaries could result in bankruptcy, which would materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.

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Our global operations, including Canada, are subject to risks not generally experienced by our U.S. operations.

We have global regional franchisees and master franchisees. For the year ended December 31, 2014, revenue from these operations represented approximately 19% of our total revenue, of which 14% is from our Canadian operations. Our global operations are subject to risks not generally experienced by our U.S. operations. The risks involved in our global operations and relationships that could result in losses against which we are not insured and therefore affect our profitability include:

·

fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates primarily related to changes in the Canadian dollar to U.S. dollar exchange rates as well as foreign exchange restrictions;

·

exposure to local economic conditions and local laws and regulations, including those relating to the agents of our franchisees;

·

economic and/or credit conditions abroad;

·

potential adverse changes in the political stability of foreign countries or in their diplomatic relations with the U.S.;

·

restrictions on the withdrawal of foreign investment and earnings;

·

government policies against businesses owned by foreigners;

·

investment restrictions or requirements;

·

diminished ability to legally enforce our contractual rights in foreign countries;

·

difficulties in registering, protecting or preserving trade names and trademarks in foreign countries;

·

restrictions on the ability to obtain or retain licenses required for operation;

·

increased franchise regulations in foreign jurisdictions;

·

withholding and other taxes on remittances and other payments by subsidiaries; and

·

changes in foreign tax laws.

Our global operations outside Canada generally generate substantially lower average revenue per agent and therefore lower margins than our U.S. and Canadian operations.

Loss or attrition among our senior management or other key employees or the inability to hire additional qualified personnel could adversely affect our operations, our brand and our financial performance.

Our future success is largely dependent on the efforts and abilities of our Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Co-Founder, David Liniger, our senior management and other key employees. Our former Chief Executive Officer, Margaret Kelly, recently retired and the loss of the services of David Liniger and our other key employees could make it more difficult to successfully operate our business and achieve our business goals. In addition, we do not maintain key employee life insurance policies on David Liniger or our other key employees. As a result, we may not be able to cover the financial loss we may incur in losing the services of any of these individuals.

Our ability to retain our employees is generally subject to numerous factors, including the compensation and benefits we pay, the mix between the fixed and variable compensation we pay our employees and prevailing compensation rates. As such, we could suffer significant attrition among our current key employees. Competition for qualified employees in the real estate franchising industry is intense. We may be unable to retain existing employees that are important to our business or hire additional qualified employees. The process of locating employees with the combination of skills and attributes required to carry out our goals is often lengthy. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in attracting and retaining qualified employees.

If we were to lose key employees and not promptly fill their positions with comparably qualified individuals, our business may be materially adversely affected.

We only have one primary facility, which serves as our corporate headquarters, and are in the process of implementing business continuity procedures. If we encounter difficulties associated with this facility, we could face management issues that could have a material adverse effect on our business operations.

We only have one primary facility, in Denver, Colorado, which serves as our corporate headquarters where most of our employees are located. A significant portion of our computer equipment and senior management, including critical resources dedicated to financial and administrative functions, is also located at our corporate headquarters. Our management and employees would need to find an alternative location if we were to encounter difficulties at our corporate headquarters, including by fire or other natural disaster, which would cause disruption and expense to our business and operations.

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We recognize the need for, and are in the process of, developing business continuity and document retention plans that would allow us to be operational despite casualties or unforeseen events impacting our corporate headquarters. If we encounter difficulties or disasters at our corporate headquarters without business continuity and document retention plans in place, our operations and information may not be available in a timely manner, or at all, and this would have a material adverse effect on our business.

Infringement, misappropriation or dilution of our intellectual property could harm our business.

We regard our RE/MAX trademark, balloon logo and yard sign design trademarks as having significant value and as being an important factor in the marketing of our brand. We believe that this and other intellectual property are valuable assets that are critical to our success. We rely on a combination of protections provided by contracts, as well as copyright, trademark, and other laws, to protect our intellectual property from infringement, misappropriation or dilution. We have registered certain trademarks and service marks and have other trademark and service mark registration applications pending in the U.S. and other jurisdictions. However, not all of the trademarks or service marks that we currently use have been registered in all of the countries in which we do business, and they may never be registered in all of those countries. Although we monitor trademark portfolios both internally and through external search agents and impose an obligation on franchisees to notify us upon learning of potential infringement, there can be no assurance that we will be able to adequately maintain, enforce and protect our trademarks or other intellectual property rights.

We are commonly involved in numerous proceedings, generally on a small scale, to enforce our intellectual property and protect our brand. Unauthorized uses or other infringement of our trademarks or service marks, including ones that are currently unknown to us, could diminish the value of our brand and may adversely affect our business. Effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every market in which we have franchised or intend to franchise. Failure to adequately protect our intellectual property rights could damage our brand and impair our ability to compete effectively. Even where we have effectively secured statutory protection for our trademarks and other intellectual property, our competitors may misappropriate our intellectual property, and in the course of litigation, such competitors occasionally attempt to challenge the breadth of our ability to prevent others from using similar marks or designs. If such challenges were to be successful, less ability to prevent others from using similar marks or designs may ultimately result in a reduced distinctiveness of our brand in the minds of consumers. Defending or enforcing our trademark rights, branding practices and other intellectual property, and seeking an injunction and/or compensation for misappropriation of confidential information, could result in the expenditure of significant resources and divert the attention of management, which in turn may materially and adversely affect our business and operating results. Even though competitors occasionally attempt to challenge our ability to prevent infringers from using our marks, we are not aware of any challenges to our right to use, and to authorize our franchisees to use, any of our brand names or trademarks.

Although we monitor and restrict our franchisees’ activities through our franchise agreements, franchisee noncompliance with the terms and conditions of our franchise agreements and our brand standards may reduce the overall goodwill of our brand, whether through diminished consumer perception of our brand, dilution of our intellectual property, the failure to meet the FTC guidelines or applicable state laws, or through the participation in improper or objectionable business practices. Moreover, unauthorized third parties may use our intellectual property to trade on the goodwill of our brand, resulting in consumer confusion or dilution. Any reduction of our brand’s goodwill, consumer confusion, or dilution is likely to impact sales, and could materially and adversely impact our business and operating results.

We are implementing a new information technology infrastructure for certain key aspects of our operations, which may be more costly than anticipated or take more time to complete and integrate than we expect, which could distract our management from our business and have an adverse impact on our results of operations.

We are implementing a new information technology infrastructure for certain key aspects of our operations. In the process of designing, developing and integrating such infrastructure, we may experience cost overages, delays or other factors that may distract our management from our business, which could have an adverse impact on our results of operations.

Further, we may not be able to obtain such new technologies and systems, or to replace or introduce new technologies and systems as quickly as our competitors or in a cost-effective manner. Also, we may not achieve the benefits anticipated or required from any new technology or system, and we may not be able to devote financial resources to new technologies and systems in the future.

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We rely on traffic to our websites, including our flagship website, remax.com, directed from search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. If our websites fail to rank prominently in unpaid search results, traffic to our websites could decline and our business would be adversely affected.

Our success depends in part on our ability to attract users through unpaid Internet search results on search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. The number of users we attract to our websites, including our flagship website, remax.com, from search engines is due in large part to how and where our websites rank in unpaid search results. These rankings can be affected by a number of factors, many of which are not under our direct control, and they may change frequently. For example, a search engine may change its ranking algorithms, methodologies or design layouts. As a result, links to our websites may not be prominent enough to drive traffic to our websites, and we may not know how or otherwise be in a position to influence the results. In some instances, search engine companies may change these rankings in order to promote their own competing services or the services of one or more of our competitors. Our websites have experienced fluctuations in search result rankings in the past, and we anticipate fluctuations in the future. Any reduction in the number of users directed to our websites could adversely impact our business and results of operations.

We may not timely and effectively scale and adapt our existing technology and network infrastructure to ensure that our platform is accessible.

It is important to our success that users in all geographies be able to access our website at all times. We may experience, in the future, service disruptions, outages and other performance problems due to a variety of factors, including reliance on our third-party hosted services, infrastructure changes, human or software errors, capacity constraints due to an overwhelming number of users accessing our platform simultaneously, and denial of service or fraud or security attacks. In some instances, we may not be able to identify the cause or causes of these performance problems within an acceptable period of time. If our website is unavailable when users attempt to access it or it does not load as quickly as they expect, users may seek other services to obtain the information for which they are looking, and may not return to our website as often in the future, or at all. This would negatively impact our ability to attract customers and decrease the frequency with which they use our website. We expect to continue to make ongoing investments to maintain and improve the availability of our website and to enable rapid releases of new features. To the extent that we do not effectively address capacity constraints, upgrade our systems as needed and continually develop our technology and network architecture to accommodate actual and anticipated changes in technology, our business and operating results may be harmed.

Any disruption or reduction in our information technology capabilities or other threats to our cybersecurity could harm our business.

Our information technologies and systems and those of our third-party hosted services are vulnerable to breach, damage or interruption from various causes, including: (i) natural disasters, war and acts of terrorism, (ii) power losses, computer systems failure, Internet and telecommunications or data network failures, operator error, losses and corruption of data, and similar events and (iii) computer viruses, penetration by individuals seeking to disrupt operations or misappropriate information and other physical or electronic breaches of security. We may not be able to successfully prevent a disruption to or material adverse effect on our business or operations in the event of a disaster, theft of data or other business interruption. Any extended interruption in our technologies or systems or significant breach could significantly curtail our ability to conduct our business and generate revenue. Additionally, our business interruption insurance may be insufficient to compensate us for losses that may occur.

A significant increase in private sales of residential property, including through the Internet, could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects and results of operations.

A significant increase in the volume of private sales completed without the involvement of a full-service real estate agent or using a low cost provider due to, for example, increased access to the Internet and the proliferation of companies’ websites that facilitate such sales, and a corresponding decrease in the volume of sales through real estate agents could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects and results of operations.

The terms of RE/MAX, LLC’s senior secured credit facility restrict the current and future operations of RMCO, RE/MAX, LLC and their subsidiaries, which could adversely affect their ability to respond to changes in business and to manage operations.

RE/MAX, LLC’s senior secured credit facility includes a number of customary restrictive covenants. These covenants could impair the financing and operational flexibility of RMCO, RE/MAX, LLC and their subsidiaries and make it difficult for them to react to market conditions and satisfy their ongoing capital needs and unanticipated cash requirements. Specifically, such covenants may restrict their ability to, among other things:

·

incur additional debt;

·

make certain investments, acquisitions and joint ventures;

·

enter into certain types of transactions with affiliates;

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·

pay dividends or make distributions or other payments to us;

·

use assets as security in certain transactions;

·

repurchase their equity interests;

·

sell certain assets or merge with or into other companies;

·

guarantee the debts of others;

·

enter into new lines of business; and

·

make certain payments on subordinated debt.

In addition, so long as any revolving loans are outstanding under the senior secured credit facility, RE/MAX, LLC is required to maintain specified financial ratios. As of December 31, 2014, there were no outstanding revolving loans.

The ability to comply with the covenants and other terms of the senior secured credit facility will depend on future operating performance of RE/MAX, LLC and its subsidiaries. If RE/MAX, LLC fails to comply with such covenants and terms, it would be required to obtain waivers from the lenders or agree with the lenders to an amendment of the facility’s terms to maintain compliance under the facility. If RE/MAX, LLC is unable to obtain any necessary waivers or amendments and the debt under our senior secured credit facility is accelerated or the lenders bring other remedies, it would likely have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and future operating performance.

We have significant debt service obligations and may incur additional indebtedness in the future which could adversely affect our financial health and our ability to react to changes to our business.

We have significant debt service obligations, including principal, interest and commitment fee payments due quarterly pursuant to RE/MAX, LLC’s senior secured credit facility. Our currently existing indebtedness, or any additional indebtedness we may incur, could require us to divert funds identified for other purposes for debt service and impair our liquidity position. In 2014, we had total debt service obligations of $11.0 million, excluding our required principal excess cash flow prepayment of $14.6 million made in April 2014 pursuant to the terms of RE/MAX, LLC’s senior secured credit facility. If we cannot generate sufficient cash flow from operations to service our debt, we may need to refinance our debt, dispose of assets or issue additional equity to obtain necessary funds. We do not know whether we will be able to take any of such actions on a timely basis, on terms satisfactory to us or at all. Our level of indebtedness has important consequences to you and your investment in our Class A common stock.

For example, our level of indebtedness may:

·

require us to use a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to pay interest and principal on our debt, which would reduce the funds available to us for working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes;

·

limit our ability to pay future dividends;

·

limit our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, expansion plans and other investments, which may limit our ability to implement our business strategy;

·

heighten our vulnerability to downturns in our business, the housing industry or in the general economy and limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the housing industry; or

·

prevent us from taking advantage of business opportunities as they arise or successfully carrying out our plans to expand our franchise base and product offerings.

We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future financing will be available to us in amounts sufficient to enable us to make payments on our indebtedness or to fund our operations.

As a result of these covenants, we are limited in the manner in which we conduct our business and we may be unable to engage in favorable business activities or finance future operations or capital needs.

Future indebtedness may impose various additional restrictions and covenants on us which could limit our ability to respond to market conditions, to make capital investments or to take advantage of business opportunities. Our ability to make payments to fund working capital, capital expenditures, debt service, and strategic acquisitions will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future, which is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control.

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Variable rate indebtedness subjects us to interest rate risk, which could cause our debt service obligations to increase significantly.

As of December 31, 2014, $211.7 million in term loans were outstanding under our senior secured credit facility, net of unamortized discount, which was at variable rates of interest, thereby exposing us to interest rate risk. We currently do not engage in any interest rate hedging activity and we have no intention to do so in the foreseeable future. As such, if interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on our outstanding indebtedness would increase even if the amount borrowed remained the same, and our net income would decrease.

Our operating results are subject to quarterly fluctuations, and results for any quarter may not necessarily be indicative of the results that may be achieved for the full fiscal year.

Historically, we have realized, and expect to continue to realize, lower Adjusted EBITDA margins in the first and fourth quarters due primarily to the impact of lower broker fees and other revenue as a result of lower overall home sale transactions, and higher selling, operating and administrative expenses in the first quarter for expenses incurred in connection with our annual convention. Accordingly, our results of operations may fluctuate on a quarterly basis, which would cause period to period comparisons of our operating results to not be necessarily meaningful and cannot be relied upon as indicators of future annual performance.

Changes in accounting standards, subjective assumptions and estimates used by management related to complex accounting matters could have a material adverse effect on our financial performance and results of operations.

Generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S. and related accounting pronouncements, implementation guidance and interpretations with regard to a wide range of matters, such as revenue recognition, accounting for leases, equity-based compensation, asset impairments, valuation reserves, income taxes and fair value accounting, are highly complex and involve many subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments made by management. Changes in these rules or their interpretations or changes in underlying assumptions, estimates or judgments made by management could significantly change our reported results.

We have incurred and will continue to incur new costs as a result of becoming a public company, and such costs will likely increase when we are no longer an “emerging growth company.”

As a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting, insurance and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company, including costs associated with public company reporting requirements. The expenses incurred by public companies generally for reporting and corporate governance purposes have been increasing. We expect compliance with these public reporting requirements and associated rules and regulations to increase our legal and financial costs, particularly after we are no longer an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act. The JOBS Act reduces certain disclosure requirements for “emerging growth companies,” thereby decreasing related regulatory compliance costs and to make some activities less time-consuming and costly. We are currently unable to estimate these costs. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, our board committees or as our executive officers. Further, if we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to delisting of our Class A common stock, fines, sanctions and other regulatory action and, potentially, civil litigation.

Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure

RIHI, Inc. (“RIHI”) has substantial control over us including over decisions that require the approval of stockholders, and its interest in our business may conflict with yours.

RIHI, an entity controlled by David Liniger, our Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Co-Founder, and Gail Liniger, our Vice-Chair and Co-Founder, respectively, (with Vincent Tracey, our President, and Daryl Jesperson, a director, who hold minority ownership interests in RIHI), holds a majority of the combined voting power of the different classes of our capital stock through its ownership of 100% of our outstanding Class B common stock. Additionally, the shares of Class B common stock entitle the holder, without regard to the number of shares of Class B common stock held, to a number of votes on matters presented to stockholders of RE/MAX Holdings that is equal to two times the aggregate number of common units of RMCO held by such holder.

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Accordingly, RIHI, acting alone, has the ability to approve or disapprove substantially all transactions and other matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders, such as a merger, consolidation, dissolution or sale of all or substantially all of our assets, the issuance or redemption of certain additional equity interests, and the election of directors. These voting and class approval rights may enable RIHI to consummate transactions that may not be in the best interests of holders of our Class A common stock or, conversely, prevent the consummation of transactions that may be in the best interests of holders of our Class A common stock. In addition, although RIHI has voting control of us, RIHI’s entire economic interest in us is in the form of its direct interest in RMCO through the ownership of RMCO common units, the payments it may receive from us under its tax receivable agreement and the proceeds it may receive upon any redemption of its RMCO common units, including issuance of shares of our Class A common stock upon any such redemption and any subsequent sale of such Class A common stock. As a result, RIHI’s interests may conflict with the interests of our Class A common stockholders. For example, RIHI may have a different tax position from us which could influence its decisions regarding whether and when to dispose of assets, whether and when to incur new or refinance existing indebtedness, especially in light of the existence of the tax receivable agreements that we entered into in connection with our IPO, and whether and when we should terminate the tax receivable agreements and accelerate our obligations thereunder. In addition, the structuring of future transactions may take into consideration the tax or other considerations of RIHI and Weston Presidio V., L.P. (collectively, the “Historical Owners”), even in situations where no similar considerations are relevant to us.

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the NYSE listing requirements and, as a result, qualify for, and intend to rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. You do not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such corporate governance requirements.

Because of the voting power over our Company held by RIHI, we are considered a “controlled company” for the purposes of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) listing requirements. As such, we are exempt from certain corporate governance requirements, including:

·

the requirement that the majority of directors on our board be independent;

·

the requirement that we have a nominating and corporate governance committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities;

·

the requirement that we have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities; and

·

the requirement for an annual performance evaluation of the nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees.

The corporate governance requirements and specifically the independence standards are intended to ensure that directors who are considered independent are free of any conflicting interest that could influence their actions as directors. We are utilizing these exemptions afforded to a “controlled company.” As a result, the majority of directors on our board is not independent nor do our nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees consist entirely of independent directors. We also are not required to conduct an annual performance evaluation of the nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees. Accordingly, you do not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of the NYSE.

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We depend on distributions from RMCO to pay taxes and expenses, including payments under the tax receivable agreements, but RMCO’s ability to make such distributions may be subject to various limitations and restrictions.

We have no material assets other than our ownership of common units of RMCO and have no independent means of generating revenue. RMCO is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, is not subject to U.S. federal income tax. Instead, taxable income is allocated to RMCO’s partners, including us. As a result, we incur income taxes on our allocable share of any net taxable income of RMCO and are responsible for complying with U.S. and foreign tax laws. Under the terms of RMCO’s fourth amended and restated limited liability company operating agreement, which became effective upon the completion of our IPO (the “New RMCO, LLC agreement”), RMCO is obligated to make tax distributions to its members, including us. In addition to tax expenses, we also incur expenses related to our operations and must satisfy obligations under the terms of the tax receivable agreements, which we expect will be significant over the fifteen-year term. As RMCO’s managing member, we cause RMCO to make distributions in an amount sufficient to allow us to pay our taxes and operating expenses, including any payments due under the tax receivable agreements. However, RMCO’s ability to make such distributions may be subject to various limitations and restrictions including, but not limited to, restrictions on distributions that would either violate any contract or agreement to which RMCO is then a party, including debt agreements, or any applicable law, or that would have the effect of rendering RMCO insolvent. If RMCO does not have sufficient funds to pay tax or other liabilities to fund our operations, we may have to borrow funds, which could adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition and subject us to various restrictions imposed by any such lenders. To the extent that we are unable to make payments under the tax receivable agreements for any reason, such payments will be deferred and will accrue interest until paid. If RMCO does not have sufficient funds to make distributions, our ability to declare and pay cash dividends may also be restricted or impaired. See “—Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock.”

Our tax receivable agreements with our Historical Owners require us to make cash payments to them based upon future tax benefits to which we may become entitled, and the amounts that we may be required to pay could be significant.

In connection with our IPO, we entered into tax receivable agreements with our Historical Owners. Refer to “Item 7— Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Tax Impact of Reorganization Transactions and IPO” for additional information. The amount of the cash payments that we may be required to make under the tax receivable agreements could be significant and will depend, in part, upon facts and circumstances that are beyond our control. Any payments made by us to our Historical Owners under the tax receivable agreements will generally reduce the amount of overall cash flow that might have otherwise been available to us and the first payments were made on December 31, 2014 and will be made annually thereafter. To the extent that we are unable to make timely payments under the tax receivable agreements for any reason, the unpaid amounts will be deferred and will accrue interest until paid by us. Furthermore, our future obligation to make payments under the tax receivable agreements could make us a less attractive target for an acquisition, particularly in the case of an acquirer that cannot use some or all of the tax benefits that may be deemed realized under the tax receivable agreements. The payments under the tax receivable agreements are also not necessarily conditioned upon our Historical Owners maintaining a continued ownership interest in either RMCO or us.

The amounts that we may be required to pay to our Historical Owners under the tax receivable agreements may be accelerated in certain circumstances and may also significantly exceed the actual tax benefits that we ultimately realize.

The tax receivable agreements provide that if certain mergers, asset sales, other forms of business combination, or other changes of control were to occur, or that if, at any time, we elect an early termination of the tax receivable agreements, then our obligations, or our successor’s obligations, to make payments under the tax receivable agreements would be based on certain assumptions, including an assumption that we would have sufficient taxable income to fully utilize all potential future tax benefits that are subject to the tax receivable agreements.

As a result, (i) we could be required to make cash payments to our Historical Owners that are greater than the specified percentage of the actual benefits we ultimately realize in respect of the tax benefits that are subject to the tax receivable agreements, and (ii) if we elect to terminate the tax receivable agreements early, we would be required to make an immediate cash payment equal to the present value of the anticipated future tax benefits that are the subject of the tax receivable agreements, which payment may be made significantly in advance of the actual realization, if any, of such future tax benefits. In these situations, our obligations under the tax receivable agreements could have a substantial negative impact on our liquidity and could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing certain mergers, asset sales, other forms of business combination, or other changes of control. There can be no assurance that we will be able to finance our obligations under the tax receivable agreements.

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We will also not be reimbursed for any cash payments previously made to our Historical Owners pursuant to the tax receivable agreements if any tax benefits initially claimed by us are subsequently challenged by a taxing authority and are ultimately disallowed. Instead, any excess cash payments made by us to either of our Historical Owners will be netted against any future cash payments that we might otherwise be required to make under the terms of the tax receivable agreements. However, we might not determine that we have effectively made an excess cash payment to either of our Historical Owners for a number of years following the initial time of such payment. As a result, it is possible that we could make cash payments under the tax receivable agreements that are substantially greater than our actual cash tax savings.

If we were deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) as a result of our ownership of RMCO, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and could have an adverse effect on our business.

Under Sections 3(a)(1)(A) and (C) of the 1940 Act, a company generally will be deemed to be an “investment company” for purposes of the 1940 Act if (i) it is, or holds itself out as being, engaged primarily, or proposes to engage primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities or (ii) it engages, or proposes to engage, in the business of investing, reinvesting, owning, holding or trading in securities and it owns or proposes to acquire investment securities having a value exceeding 40% of the value of its total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis. We do not believe that we are an “investment company,” as such term is defined in either of those sections of the 1940 Act.

As the sole managing member of RMCO, we control and operate RMCO. On that basis, we believe that our interest in RMCO is not an “investment security” as that term is used in the 1940 Act. However, if we were to cease participation in the management of RMCO, our interest in RMCO could be deemed an “investment security” for purposes of the 1940 Act.

We and RMCO intend to conduct our operations so that we will not be deemed an investment company. However, if we were to be deemed an investment company, restrictions imposed by the 1940 Act, including limitations on our capital structure and our ability to transact with affiliates, could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock

RIHI directly (through ownership of our Class B common stock) and indirectly (through ownership of RMCO common units) owns interests in us, and RIHI has the right to redeem and cause us to redeem, as applicable, such interests pursuant to the terms of the New RMCO, LLC agreement. We may elect to issue shares of Class A common stock upon such redemption, and the issuance and sale of such shares may have a negative impact on the market price of our Class A common stock.

As of December 31, 2014, we had an aggregate of 168,231,959 shares of Class A common stock authorized but unissued, including 17,734,600 shares of Class A common stock issuable upon redemption of RMCO common units that are held by RIHI. In connection with our IPO, RMCO entered into the New RMCO, LLC agreement, and subject to certain restrictions set forth therein, RIHI is entitled to potentially redeem the RMCO common units it holds for an aggregate of up to 17,734,600 shares of our Class A common stock, subject to customary adjustments. We also have entered into a registration rights agreement pursuant to which the shares of Class A common stock issued upon such redemption are eligible for resale, subject to certain limitations set forth therein.

We cannot predict the size of future issuances of our Class A common stock or the effect, if any, that future issuances and sales of shares of our Class A common stock may have on the market price of our Class A common stock. Sales or distributions of substantial amounts of our Class A common stock, including shares issued in connection with an acquisition, or the perception that such sales or distributions could occur, may cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline.

The dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control with RIHI and our Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Co-Founder.

The Class B common stock has no economic rights but entitles the holder, without regard to the number of shares of Class B common stock held, to a number of votes on matters presented to stockholders of RE/MAX Holdings that is equal to two times the aggregate number of common units of RMCO held by such holder. Our Class A common stock has one vote per share.

Based on the voting rights associated with our Class B common stock, and the number of common units of RMCO that RIHI currently owns, RIHI holds approximately 75% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. As a result, RIHI controls a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock and therefore is able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval. This concentrated control will limit or preclude your ability to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future.

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RIHI is a Delaware corporation that is majority owned and controlled by David Liniger, our Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Co-Founder, and Gail Liniger, our Vice Chair and Co-Founder. Vincent Tracey, our President and Daryl Jesperson, a director, hold minority ownership interests in RIHI.

You may be diluted by future issuances of additional Class A common stock in connection with our incentive plans, acquisitions or otherwise; future sales of such shares in the public market, or the expectations that such sales may occur, could lower our stock price.

Our certificate of incorporation authorizes us to issue shares of Class A common stock and options, rights, warrants and appreciation rights relating to Class A common stock for the consideration and on the terms and conditions established by our board of directors in its sole discretion, whether in connection with acquisitions or otherwise. As of December 31, 2014, we had 1,707,419 reserved shares available for issuance under our 2013 Stock Incentive Plan. We granted options to purchase 787,500 shares of Class A common stock in substitution of options that were granted by RMCO. During 2014, 135,000 of these options were exercised. On May 20, 2014, 77,452 restricted stock units that were granted and vested in connection with the IPO were delivered for shares of Class A common stock to certain employees and directors. On December 1, 2014, 39,400 long-term incentive restricted stock units vested and were delivered for shares of Class A common stock to certain employees and directors. In connection with the retirement of Margaret Kelly, our former Chief Executive Officer, the vesting of previously unvested 30,304 long-term incentive restricted stock units was accelerated and such restricted stock units became fully vested on December 31, 2014. As of December 31, 2014, 40,472 and zero restricted stock units and options were unvested, respectively. Any Class A common stock that we issue, including under our 2013 Stock Incentive Plan or other equity incentive plans that we may adopt in the future, would dilute the percentage ownership held by the investors who own Class A common stock.

Our Class A common stock price may be volatile or may decline regardless of our operating performance and you may not be able to resell your shares at or above the price you paid for them.

Many factors, which are outside our control, may cause the market price of our Class A common stock to fluctuate significantly, including those described elsewhere in this “Risk Factors” section, as well as the following:

·

our operating and financial performance and prospects;

·

our quarterly or annual earnings or those of other companies in our industry compared to market expectations;

·

conditions that impact demand for our services, including the condition of the U.S. residential housing market unrelated to our performance;

·

future announcements concerning our business or our competitors’ businesses;

·

the public’s reaction to our press releases, other public announcements and filings with the SEC;

·

the size of our public float;

·

coverage by or changes in financial estimates by securities analysts or failure to meet their expectations;

·

market and industry perception of our success, or lack thereof, in pursuing our growth strategy;

·

strategic actions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions or restructurings;

·

changes in government and environmental regulation;

·

housing and mortgage finance markets;

·

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;

·

changes in senior management or key personnel;

·

issuances, exchanges or sales, or expected issuances, exchanges or sales of our capital stock;

·

adverse resolution of new or pending litigation against us;

·

changes in general market, economic and political conditions in the U.S. and global economies or financial markets, including those resulting from natural disasters, terrorist attacks, acts of war and responses to such events; and

·

material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting.

Volatility in the market price of our common stock may prevent investors from being able to sell their common stock at or above the price they paid for the stock. In addition, price volatility may be greater if the public float and trading volume of our common stock is low. As a result, you may suffer a loss on your investment.

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We cannot assure you that we will have the available cash to make dividend payments.

We declared four cash dividends of $0.0625 per share of Class A common stock during 2014. On March 11, 2015, we declared a quarterly dividend of $0.125 per share of Class A common stock and a special dividend of $1.50 per share of Class A common stock. We intend to continue to pay cash dividends quarterly. Whether we will do so, however, and the timing and amount of those dividends, will be subject to approval and declaration by our board of directors and will depend upon on a variety of factors, including our financial results, cash requirements and financial condition, our ability to pay dividends under our senior secured credit facility and any other applicable contracts, and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Any dividends declared and paid will not be cumulative.

Because we are a holding company with no material assets other than our ownership of common units of RMCO, we have no independent means of generating revenue or cash flow, and our ability to pay dividends is dependent upon the financial results and cash flows of RMCO and its subsidiaries and distributions we receive from RMCO. We expect to cause RMCO to make distributions to fund our expected dividend payments, subject to applicable law and any restrictions contained in RMCO’s or its subsidiaries’ current or future debt agreements.

Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and Delaware law might discourage or delay acquisition attempts for us that you might consider favorable.

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws contain provisions that may make the acquisition of our company more difficult without the approval of our board of directors. These provisions:

·

establish a classified board of directors so that not all members of our board of directors are elected at one time;

·

authorize the issuance of undesignated preferred stock, the terms of which may be established and the shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval, and which may include super voting, special approval, dividend or other rights or preferences superior to the rights of the holders of common stock;

·

provide that our board of directors is expressly authorized to make, alter or repeal our bylaws;

·

delegate the sole power to a majority of the board of directors to fix the number of directors;

·

provide the power of our board of directors to fill any vacancy on our board of directors, whether such vacancy occurs as a result of an increase in the number of directors or otherwise;

·

eliminate the ability of stockholders to call special meetings of stockholders; and

·

establish advance notice requirements for nominations for elections to our board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at stockholder meetings.

Our certificate of incorporation also contains a provision that provides us with protections similar to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, and prevents us from engaging in a business combination with a person who acquires at least 15% of our common stock for a period of three years from the date such person acquired such common stock unless board or stockholder approval is obtained prior to the acquisition, except that David and Gail Liniger are deemed to have been approved by our board of directors, and thereby not subject to these restrictions. These anti-takeover provisions and other provisions under Delaware law could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our Company, even if doing so would benefit our stockholders. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect directors of your choosing and to cause us to take other corporate actions you desire.

Our business and stock price may suffer as a result of our lack of public company operating experience.

Prior to the IPO, we were a privately-held company since we began operations in 1973. Our lack of public company operating experience may make it difficult to forecast and evaluate our future prospects. If we are unable to execute our business strategy, either as a result of our inability to effectively manage our business in a public company environment or for any other reason, our prospects, financial condition and results of operations may be harmed and our stock price may decline.

As an “emerging growth company,” we cannot be certain whether taking advantage of the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to “emerging growth companies” makes our common stock less attractive to investors.

The JOBS Act provides that, so long as a company qualifies as an “emerging growth company,” it will, among other things, be exempt from the provisions of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requiring that its independent registered public accounting firm provide an attestation report on the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding advisory “say-on-pay” votes on executive compensation and shareholder advisory votes on golden parachute compensation.

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We take advantage of the reduced disclosure requirements regarding executive compensation. We have irrevocably elected not to take advantage of the extension of time to comply with new or revised financial accounting standards available under Section 107(b) of the JOBS Act. We cannot predict whether investors will find our Class A common stock less attractive if we rely on these exemptions, or whether taking advantage of these exemptions would result in less active trading or more volatility in the price of our Class A common stock. Also, we intend to take advantage of some of the reduced regulatory and reporting requirements that will be available to us as long as we qualify as an “emerging growth company.”

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

Our corporate headquarters is located in leased offices in Denver, Colorado. The lease consists of approximately 231,000 square feet and expires in April 2028. As of December 31, 2014, our Company-owned real estate brokerage business leases approximately 171,000 square feet of office space in the U.S. and Canada under 22 leases. These offices are generally located in shopping centers and small office parks, generally with lease terms of 1 to 10 years. We believe that all of our properties and facilities are well maintained.

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

From time to time we are involved in litigation, claims and other proceedings relating to the conduct of our business. Such litigation and other proceedings may include, but are not limited to, actions relating to intellectual property, commercial arrangements, franchising arrangements, brokerage disputes, vicarious liability based upon conduct of individuals or entities outside of our control including franchisees and independent agents, and employment law claims. Litigation and other disputes are inherently unpredictable and subject to substantial uncertainties and unfavorable resolutions could occur. Often these cases raise complex factual and legal issues, which are subject to risks and uncertainties and which could require significant management time. Litigation and other claims and regulatory proceedings against us could result in unexpected expenses and liabilities and could also materially adversely affect our operations and our reputation.

 

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

None.

 

 

 

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PART II

 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Shares of our Class A common stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “RMAX” on October 2, 2013. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for shares of our Class A common stock. As of March 6, 2015, we had 20 stockholders of record of our Class A common stock. This number does not include stockholders whose stock is held in nominee or street name by brokers. All shares of Class B common stock are owned by RIHI, Inc., and there is no public market for these shares.  

The following table shows the highest and lowest prices paid per share for our Class A common stock as well as dividends declared per share during the calendar quarter indicated below since our initial public offering.

 

Class A Common Stock

 

 

Dividends

 

 

Market Price

 

 

Declared

 

 

Highest

 

 

Lowest

 

 

per Share

 

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First quarter

$

32.33

 

 

$

28.06

 

 

$

0.0625

 

Second quarter

 

31.45

 

 

 

25.90

 

 

 

0.0625

 

Third quarter

 

31.75

 

 

 

28.00

 

 

 

0.0625

 

Fourth Quarter

 

38.76

 

 

 

29.04

 

 

 

0.0625

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth Quarter (from October 2, 2013)

$

33.54

 

 

$

25.40

 

 

$

 

During 2014, our Board of Directors declared quarterly cash dividends of $0.0625 per share of Class A common stock payable on April 18, 2014, June 5, 2014, September 3, 2014 and December 4, 2014. We did not pay any cash dividends during 2013. On March 11, 2015, the Company’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.125 per share on all outstanding shares of Class A common stock, which is payable on April 8, 2015 to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 25, 2015, and a special dividend of $1.50 per share on all outstanding shares of Class A common stock, which is payable on April 8, 2015 to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 23, 2015. We intend to continue to pay a cash dividend on shares of Class A common stock on a quarterly basis. Whether we do so, however, and the timing and amount of those dividends will be subject to approval and declaration by our Board of Directors and will depend upon on a variety of factors, including the financial results and cash flows of RMCO and its subsidiaries, distributions we receive from RMCO, our financial results, cash requirements and financial condition, our ability to pay dividends under our senior secured credit facility and any other applicable contracts, and other factors deemed relevant by our Board of Directors. All dividends declared and paid will not be cumulative.

37


 

Performance Graph

The following graph and table depict the total return to stockholders from October 2, 2013 (the date our Class A common stock began trading on the NYSE) through December 31, 2014, relative to the performance of the S&P 500 Index, Russell 2000 (Total Return) Index and a peer group of real estate and franchise related companies. The graph and table assume $100 invested at the closing price of $27.00 on October 2, 2013 (rather than the IPO offering price of $22.00 per share) and that all dividends were reinvested.

The performance graph and table are not intended to be indicative of future performance. The performance graph and table shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any of the Company’s filings under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act.

Other franchise and real estate related companies include the following: Realogy Holding Corp., Dunkin Brands Group Inc., Domino’s Pizza Inc., Yum! Brands Inc., Choice Hotels International Inc., Marriott International Inc., CBRE Group Inc. and Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. For purposes of the chart and table, the companies in this peer group are weighted according to their market capitalization.

 

 

October 2, 2013

 

 

December 31, 2013

 

 

December 31, 2014

 

RE/MAX Holdings, Inc.

$

100.00

 

 

$

118.78

 

 

$

127.94

 

Other franchise and real estate related companies

 

100.00

 

 

 

110.46

 

 

 

137.23

 

S&P 500 Index

 

100.00

 

 

 

109.12

 

 

 

121.55

 

Russell 2000 (Total Return) Index

 

100.00

 

 

 

107.83

 

 

 

113.11

 

 

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The following tables set forth our selected historical consolidated financial and other data as of the dates and for the periods indicated. The selected consolidated statements of income data for the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012, and the consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2014 and 2013 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

The selected consolidated statements of income data for the years ended December 31, 2011 and 2010 and the selected consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2012, 2011 and 2010 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

After the completion of the IPO, RE/MAX Holdings owned 39.56% of the common membership units in RMCO and as of December 31, 2014, RE/MAX Holdings owns 39.89% of the common membership units in RMCO. RE/MAX Holdings’ only business is to act as the sole manager of RMCO and, in that capacity, RE/MAX Holdings operates and controls all of the business and affairs of RMCO. As a result, RE/MAX Holdings consolidates the financial condition and results of operations of RMCO, and because RE/MAX Holdings and RMCO are entities under common control, such consolidation has been reflected for all periods presented.  Our selected historical financial data does not reflect what our financial position, results of operations and cash flows would have been had we been a separate, stand-alone public company during those periods.

38


 

Our selected historical financial data may not be indicative of our future financial condition, future results of operations or future cash flows.

You should read the information set forth below in conjunction with our historical consolidated financial statements and the notes to those statements and “Item 7.Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

 

2010

 

 

(in thousands, except per share amounts and agent data)

 

Consolidated Statements of Income Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total revenue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing franchise fees

$

72,706

 

 

$

64,465

 

 

$

56,350

 

 

$

57,200

 

 

$

60,865

 

Annual dues

 

30,726

 

 

 

29,524

 

 

 

28,909

 

 

 

28,922

 

 

 

30,472

 

Broker fees

 

28,685

 

 

 

24,811

 

 

 

19,579

 

 

 

16,764

 

 

 

16,021

 

Franchise sales and other franchise revenue

 

23,440

 

 

 

23,574

 

 

 

22,629

 

 

 

19,354

 

 

 

15,709

 

Brokerage revenue

 

15,427

 

 

 

16,488

 

 

 

16,210

 

 

 

16,062

 

 

 

17,150

 

Total revenue

 

170,984

 

 

 

158,862

 

 

 

143,677

 

 

 

138,302

 

 

 

140,217

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling, operating and administrative expenses

 

91,847

 

 

 

96,243

 

 

 

84,337

 

 

 

85,291

 

 

 

81,353

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

15,316

 

 

 

15,166

 

 

 

12,090

 

 

 

14,473

 

 

 

16,735

 

(Gain) loss on sale or disposition of assets, net

 

(14

)

 

 

373

 

 

 

1,704

 

 

 

67

 

 

 

3,719

 

Total operating expenses

 

107,149

 

 

 

111,782

 

 

 

98,131

 

 

 

99,831

 

 

 

101,807

 

Operating income

 

63,835

 

 

 

47,080

 

 

 

45,546

 

 

 

38,471

 

 

 

38,410

 

Other expenses, net:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest expense

 

(9,295

)

 

 

(14,647

)

 

 

(11,686

)

 

 

(12,203

)

 

 

(22,295

)

Interest income

 

313

 

 

 

321

 

 

 

286

 

 

 

372

 

 

 

538

 

Foreign currency transaction (losses) gains

 

(1,348

)

 

 

(764

)

 

 

208

 

 

 

(266

)

 

 

167

 

Loss on early extinguishment of debt

 

(178

)

 

 

(1,798

)

 

 

(136

)

 

 

(384

)

 

 

(18,161

)

Equity in earnings of investees

 

600

 

 

 

904

 

 

 

1,244

 

 

 

431

 

 

 

643

 

Total other expenses, net

 

(9,908

)

 

 

(15,984

)

 

 

(10,084

)

 

 

(12,050

)

 

 

(39,108

)

Income (loss) before provision for income taxes

 

53,927

 

 

 

31,096

 

 

 

35,462

 

 

 

26,421

 

 

 

(698

)

Provision for income taxes

 

(9,948

)

 

 

(2,844

)

 

 

(2,138

)

 

 

(2,172

)

 

 

(2,049

)

Net income (loss) to controlling and non-controlling interests

 

43,979

 

 

 

28,252

 

 

 

33,324

 

 

 

24,249

 

 

 

(2,747

)

Less: net income (loss) attributable to non-controlling interests

 

30,543

 

 

 

26,746

 

 

 

33,324

 

 

 

24,249

 

 

 

(2,747

)

Net income attributable to RE/MAX Holdings, Inc.

$

13,436

 

 

$

1,506

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

Earnings per share data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic (1)

$

1.16

 

 

$

0.13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted (1)

$

1.10

 

 

$

0.12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agent count at period end (unaudited)

 

98,010

 

 

 

93,228

 

 

 

89,008

 

 

 

87,476

 

 

 

89,628

 

Cash dividends declared per share of Class A common stock

$

0.25

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)

We consummated our initial public offering on October 7, 2013. Since that date, we have consolidated the results of RMCO due to our role as RMCO’s managing member. Therefore, all income for the periods prior to October 7, 2013 is entirely attributable to the non-controlling interests which existed prior to the initial public offering. As a result, in the computation of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles earnings per share, only the net income attributable to our controlling interests from the period subsequent to the initial public offering is considered. Additionally, the computation of weighted average basic and diluted shares of Class A common stock outstanding for the year ended December 31, 2013 only considers the outstanding shares from the date our Class A common stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange, October 2, 2013 through December 31, 2013.

39


 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

 

2010

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Consolidated Balance Sheets Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash

$

107,199

 

 

$

88,375

 

 

$

68,501

 

 

$

38,611

 

 

$

44,569

 

Franchise agreements, net

 

75,505

 

 

 

89,071

 

 

 

78,338

 

 

 

72,217

 

 

 

83,452

 

Goodwill

 

72,463

 

 

 

72,781

 

 

 

71,039

 

 

 

41,882

 

 

 

41,963

 

Total assets

 

358,327

 

 

 

352,823

 

 

 

251,416

 

 

 

186,465

 

 

 

206,160

 

Payable pursuant to tax receivable agreements, including current portion

 

67,418

 

 

 

68,840

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-term debt, including current portion

 

211,673

 

 

 

228,404

 

 

 

232,236

 

 

 

195,340

 

 

 

211,366

 

Redeemable preferred units

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

78,400

 

 

 

66,500

 

 

 

62,200

 

Total stockholders' equity/members' deficit

 

39,283

 

 

 

15,539

 

 

 

(96,769

)

 

 

(109,524

)

 

 

(97,946

)

 

ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations contains forward-looking statements. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Item 1A.—Risk Factors” for a discussion of the uncertainties, risks and assumptions associated with these statements. Actual results may differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.

The historical results of operations discussed in this Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations are those of RMCO, LLC (“RMCO”) and its consolidated subsidiaries prior to October 7, 2013 and RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (“RE/MAX Holdings”) and its consolidated subsidiaries, including RMCO (collectively, the “Company,” “we,” “our” or “us”), commencing on October 7, 2013, the effective date of our initial public offering (the “IPO”).  Subsequent to the IPO, RE/MAX Holdings began to operate and control all of the business affairs of RMCO.  As a result, RE/MAX Holdings began to consolidate RMCO on October 7, 2013, and because RE/MAX Holdings and RMCO are entities under common control, such consolidation has been reflected for all periods presented.  

Business Overview

We are one of the world’s leading franchisors of real estate brokerage services. Our business strategy is to recruit and retain agents and sell franchises. Our franchisees operate under the RE/MAX brand name which has held the number one market share in the U.S. and Canada since 1999 as measured by total residential transaction sides completed by our agents. We operate in two reportable segments, (1) Real Estate Franchise Services and (2) Brokerages. The Real Estate Franchise Services reportable segment comprises the operations of our owned and independent global franchising operations and corporate-wide professional services expenses. The Brokerages reportable segment contains the operations of our 21 owned brokerage offices in the United States (“U.S.”) (which represent less than 1% of RE/MAX brokerages in the U.S.), the results of operations of a mortgage brokerage company in which we own a non-controlling interest and reflects the elimination of intersegment revenue and other consolidation entities. Our reportable segments represent our operating segments for which separate financial information is available and which is utilized on a regular basis by our management to assess performance and to allocate resources.

As a result of changes in management’s process to assess performance and to allocate resources, we implemented a new segment structure beginning in the second quarter of 2014.  The changes in our segment structure relate to certain corporate-wide professional services expenses, which were previously reflected in the Brokerage and Other reportable segment and, beginning in the second quarter of 2014, are being reflected in the Real Estate Franchise Services reportable segment. All prior segment information has been recast to reflect our new segment structure and current presentation.  

40


 

Our financial results are driven by the number of agents in our global network. The majority of our revenue is derived from fixed, contractual fees and dues paid to us based on the number of agents in our franchise network. We grew our total agent count at a CAGR of 30% from our founding to a peak of approximately 120,000 agents in 2006. Our agent count declined approximately 26.8% from 2006 through 2011 as real estate transaction activity declined during the U.S. and global real estate downturn and economic recession. We returned to growth with a net gain of 1,532, 4,220 and 4,782 agents during 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively, of which 651, 2,688 and 2,614 agents were in the U.S., respectively. We expect that our U.S. agent count will continue to increase as we attract agents who recognize the strength of the RE/MAX brand and our agent-centric value proposition. The graph below depicts the trend of the total number of agents in our global network for the past 10 years at the end of each year indicated:

Agent Count

As approximately 81% of our 2014 revenue came from the U.S., we believe that we are benefiting from the improving U.S. housing market.  After rising by more than 9% per year in 2012 and 2013, existing home sale transactions fell by 2.9% in 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors (“NAR”).  However, NAR forecasts that existing home sale transactions will rise 6.4% in 2015. With approximately 14% of our 2014 revenue coming from Canada, where RE/MAX has the leading market share among residential brokerage firms, we also expect to benefit from a continuation of generally stable Canadian housing market trends.

Our current growth strategies include the following initiatives:

Increase our total agent count;

Continue to drive franchise sales growth and agent recruitment and retention; and

Reacquire select RE/MAX regional franchises in the U.S. and Canada.

We function under the following franchise organizational model, with nearly all of the RE/MAX branded brokerage office locations being operated by franchisees:

 

Franchise Tier

  

Description

 

RE/MAX

 

 

Owns the right to the RE/MAX brand and sells franchises and franchising rights.

 

Regional
Franchise
Owner

 

 

Owns rights to sell brokerage franchises in a specified region. Current network of 162 regions globally. In the U.S. and Canada, RE/MAX owns 12 of 32 regional franchises, representing 55% of our U.S. and Canada agent count. The remaining 20 regional franchises, representing 45% of our U.S. and Canada agent count, are Independent Regions.

 

Franchisee

(or Broker-Owner)

 

 

Owns right to operate a RE/MAX-branded brokerage office, list properties and recruit agents. 6,751 offices globally, as of December 31, 2014.

 

Agent

(or Sales Associate)

 

 

Branded independent contractors who operate out of local franchise brokerage offices. 98,010 agents globally, as of December 31, 2014.

41


 

In the early years of our expansion in the U.S. and Canada, we sold regional franchise rights to independent owners for certain Independent Regions while retaining rights to other regions. In recent years, we have pursued a strategy to reacquire regional franchise rights, such as the California, Hawaii, Florida and Carolinas regions in 2007, the Mountain States region in 2011, the Texas region in 2012 and the Central Atlantic and Southwest regions in 2013.

As a franchisor (less than 1% of the brokerages in the U.S. RE/MAX system are owned by us), we maintain a low fixed-cost structure which enables us to generate high margins and helps us drive significant operating leverage through incremental revenue growth as reflected in our financial results.

We have multiple revenue streams, with the majority of our revenue derived from fixed contractual fees and dues paid by our agents, franchisees and regional franchise owners. See “—Components of Operating Results” for a description of our revenue streams.

The majority of our revenue is derived from the U.S. and Canada. Our revenue by geography for the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012 is illustrated in the following chart:

Revenue by Geography

Percentage of Revenue

Our financial results for the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012 were as follows:

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

Revenue

 

$

171.0 million

 

$

158.9 million

 

$

143.7 million

Adjusted EBITDA*

 

$

83.8 million

 

$

77.0 million

 

$

66.7 million

Net income

 

$

44.0 million

 

$

28.3 million

 

$

33.3 million

 

*

See “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for further discussion of Adjusted EBITDA and a reconciliation of the differences between Adjusted EBITDA and net income.

Marketing and Promotion

Nearly all of the advertising, marketing and promotion to support the RE/MAX brand is funded by our agents and franchisees.  In the U.S. and Canada, there are currently three primary levels of advertising and promotion of our brand based on the source of funding for the activity: (i) a national advertising fund that spearheads brand efforts on a national level, (ii) regional advertising funds that focus on regional activities and (iii) local campaigns that are paid for directly by agents and franchisees within their local markets.

42


 

The national and regional advertising funds (collectively, the “Advertising Funds”) are funded by our agents through fees that our brokers collect and pay to the regional advertising funds, which remit a portion to the national advertising fund. These Advertising Funds are corporations owned by our controlling stockholder as trustee for RE/MAX agents. Their activities are directed by our Company-owned Regions.  

During the third quarter of 2014, our regional franchise owners adopted a change in the marketing strategy for the Advertising Funds. Beginning in January 2015, the national advertising fund was discontinued and the RE/MAX advertising strategy will focus on targeted, regional and local marketing. The amount of fees paid by our agents will not change, but advertising dollars traditionally used for national television campaigns will be retained for use in regional programs, presenting valuable marketing opportunities at the regional and local level. Notwithstanding the discontinuance of the national advertising fund, on occasion, the advertising funds in Company-owned Regions, together with some or all of the advertising funds in Independent Regions, may pool funds to purchase national or pan-regional television advertising. These regional advertising funds will continue to be funded by our agents and franchisees through fees that our brokers collect and pay to the regional advertising funds. We are currently evaluating the impact that this change in advertising strategy may have on our future results of operations, if any.

Significant Transactions Impacting Our Operating Results

Incorporation and Reorganization Transactions

RE/MAX Holdings was formed as a Delaware corporation on June 25, 2013 for the purpose of facilitating an IPO of its common equity and to become the sole managing member of RMCO. Prior to October 7, 2013, RE/MAX Holdings had not engaged in any significant business or activities.

In connection with the IPO, RMCO’s third amended and restated limited liability company agreement (the “Old RMCO, LLC Agreement”), dated as of February 1, 2013, was amended and restated to, among other things, modify RMCO’s capital structure so that the Class A preferred membership interests of Weston Presidio V., L.P. (“Weston Presidio”) were recapitalized into (i) preferred interests that reflected Weston Presidio’s liquidation preference of approximately $49.9 million and (ii) common interests that reflected Weston Presidio’s pro-rata share of the residual equity value of RMCO.  At the same time, the Class B common membership interest held by RIHI, Inc. (“RIHI”) was reclassified, and the common interests in RMCO were split, such that each common unit of RMCO held by Weston Presidio and RIHI could be acquired with the net proceeds received in the IPO from the sale of one share of our Class A common stock, after the deduction of underwriting discounts and commissions and prior to the payment of estimated offering expenses.  RIHI also received a redemption right that entitles RIHI to have its remaining common units of RMCO redeemed, at RIHI’s election in exchange for, at our option, newly issued shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis (subject to customary adjustments, including conversion rate adjustments, underwriting discounts, commissions and adjustments for stock splits, stock dividends and reclassifications) or a cash payment equal to the market price of one share of our Class A common stock.

Initial Public Offering

On October 7, 2013, we issued and sold 11,500,000 shares of our Class A common stock at a public offering price of $22.00 per share in our IPO and became a member and the sole manager of RMCO.  We are a holding company and own 39.89% of the common units in RMCO as of December 31, 2014. RIHI owns the remaining 60.11% of the common units in RMCO. Our only business is to act as the sole manager of RMCO and, in that capacity, we operate and control all of the business and affairs of RMCO. As a result, on October 7, 2013, we began to consolidate the financial results of RMCO and its subsidiaries. Due to RIHI’s approximate 60% equity interest in RMCO, our post-IPO results reflect a significant non-controlling interest and our pre-tax income represents approximately 40% of RMCO’s net income. Our only source of cash flow from operations is in the form of distributions from RMCO and management fees paid by RMCO pursuant to a management services agreement between us and RMCO.

We incurred additional expenses as a result of becoming a public company, including expenses related to additional staffing, directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, directors fees, SEC reporting and compliance (including Sarbanes-Oxley compliance), transfer agent fees, professional fees and other similar expenses. We will continue to incur legal, accounting and other fees and expenses associated with being a public company. These additional expenses have and will increase our selling, operating and administrative expenses and consequently reduce our net income.

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Acquisitions

We reacquired regional franchise rights in the Southwest and Central Atlantic regions of the U.S. through the acquisitions of the business assets of HBN, Inc. (“HBN”) and Tails, Inc. (“Tails”) during 2013 and acquired certain assets of RE/MAX of Texas during 2012. The comparability of our operating results is affected by these acquisitions. See “—Acquisitions” for further detail over our acquisition activity during the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

Tax Impact of Reorganization Transactions and IPO

Following the IPO and related reorganization transactions described above, RE/MAX Holdings became subject to U.S. federal and state income taxation on its allocable portion of the income of RMCO.

At the time of the IPO, we entered into separate tax receivable agreements (collectively, the “TRAs”) with Weston Presidio and RIHI (collectively, the “Historical Owners”) that will provide for the payment by us to the Historical Owners of 85% of the amount of cash savings, if any, in U.S. federal, state and local income tax or franchise tax that we actually realize, or in some circumstances are deemed to realize, as a result of an expected increase in our share of tax basis in RMCO’s tangible and intangible assets, including increases attributable to payments made under the TRAs, and deductions attributable to imputed and actual interest that accrues in respect of such payments. These tax benefit payments are not necessarily conditioned upon one or more of the Historical Owners maintaining a continued ownership interest in either RMCO or us. We expect to benefit from the remaining 15% of cash savings, if any, that we may actually realize. The provisions of the TRAs that we entered into with the Historical Owners are substantially identical.  

As of December 31, 2014, a net deferred tax asset of $68.1 million and amounts payable under the TRAs of $67.4 million have been reflected in the Consolidated Balance Sheets included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. During the year ended December 31, 2014, $1.0 million was paid to the Historical Owners pursuant to the TRAs.

Leadership Changes and Restructuring Activities

On December 31, 2014, Margaret Kelly, our former Chief Executive Officer and a former director, retired from the Company and pursuant to the terms of the Separation and Release of Claims Agreement (the “Separation Agreement”), the Company recognized $3.3 million in one-time expenses for severance and other related retirement benefits, including additional equity-based compensation resulting from the accelerated vesting of certain restricted stock units.

In addition, during the fourth quarter of 2014, our management approved a restructuring plan designed to improve our operating efficiencies, which reduced overall headcount at our corporate headquarters (the “Restructuring Plan”). In conjunction with this decision, we incurred approximately $1.3 million of additional expenses related to severance and outplacement services.

The aforementioned one-time severance and other related charges reflected in our selling, operating and administrative expenses during the year ended December 31, 2014 affects the comparability of our operating results to the prior year. See Note 13 to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional disclosures for the Separation Agreement and the Restructuring Plan, including a related rollforward of the estimated fair value liability recorded during the year ended December 31, 2014.

Factors Affecting Our Operating Results

Various factors affected our results for the periods presented in this “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” including the following:

Changes in Agent Count. The majority of our revenue is derived from fees and dues based on the number of agents in the RE/MAX network. Due to the low fixed cost structure of our franchise model, the addition of new agents generally requires little incremental investment in capital or infrastructure. Accordingly, the number of agents in our network (particularly in our owned U.S. and Canadian regions) is the most important factor affecting our results of operations and the addition of new agents can favorably impact our revenue and Adjusted EBITDA. Historically, the number of agents in the residential real estate industry has been highly correlated with overall home sale transaction activity. Our agent count decreased during the downturn in the U.S. housing sector, but has returned to growth as the market continues to recover. However, we do not use our overall home sale transaction activity on a per agent or aggregate basis in order to evaluate our results of operations. We believe that the number of agents in our network is the primary statistic that drives our revenue.

Cyclical Residential Real Estate Market. The residential real estate industry in which we operate is cyclical and, consequently, our revenue is affected by general conditions within the residential real estate market.

44


 

The residential real estate industry is cyclical in nature but has shown strong long-term growth. From the second half of 2005 through 2011, the U.S. real estate industry experienced a significant downturn, with existing home sale transactions declining by 40% from 7.1 million in 2005 to 4.3 million in 2011, according to NAR. Since then, the U.S. real estate industry has improved, with 4.7 million existing home sale transactions in 2012, 5.1 million in 2013, and 4.9 million in 2014. NAR forecasts 5.3 million existing home sales in 2015.

Similarly, the median home sale price declined by 24% from 2005 to 2011.  In 2012, the median home sale price increased by 6.4% and in 2013, the increase was 11.5%. Median price increases have moderated to 5.7% in 2014, according to NAR. Furthermore, according to CoreLogic, Inc., between October 2012 and September 2014, the number of homes with mortgages larger than their estimated fair value fell by more than 50%, and the percentage of homes with a loan-to-value ratio of less than 80% increased from 55% to more than 70%. We believe the strengthened equity position of a substantial number of homeowners who may previously have been unable to afford to sell their “underwater” houses will unlock pent-up market demand for sales of existing homes in 2015 and beyond.

Changes in Aggregate Fee Revenue Per Agent. A significant portion of our revenue is tied to various fees that are ultimately tied to the number of agents in the RE/MAX network, including annual dues, continuing franchise fees and certain transaction or service based fees. Our average annual revenue per agent for our Company-owned Regions in the U.S. and Canada is more than two times greater than for our Independent Regions. Our average revenue per agent in regions outside the U.S. and Canada is substantially lower than the average revenue per agent in the U.S. and Canada. We have expanded our owned regional franchising operations through acquisitions of Independent Regions in the U.S. and Canada. We reacquired the regional franchise rights for the Mountain States region in 2011, for the Texas region in 2012 and for the Southwest and Central Atlantic regions in 2013 and intend to pursue the reacquisition of regional franchise rights other regions in the future. In addition, other changes in our aggregate revenue per agent are derived from changes in our fee arrangements with our franchisees and agents over time. Our revenue per agent also increases in other ways including when transaction sides and transaction sizes increase. This is because a portion of our revenue comes from fees tied to the number and size of real estate transactions closed by our agents. Due to the low fixed cost structure of our franchise model, modest increases in revenue per agent, such as the January 1, 2014 increases to the amount of annual dues billed to our U.S. and Canadian agents and the continuing franchise fees charged in our U.S. Company-owned Regions, impact the comparability of our operating results. We do not plan to increase continuing franchise fees in our Company-owned Regions or annual dues in 2015. Subsequent thereto, we will evaluate the appropriateness of inflationary fee increases.

How We Assess the Performance of Our Business

In assessing the performance of our business, we consider a variety of financial and operating measures that affect our operating results, including agent count, franchise sales, revenue and Adjusted EBITDA.

Agent Count. Agent count reflects the number of licensed agents who have active, independent contractual relationships with RE/MAX offices at a particular time. The majority of our revenue is derived from recurring fixed fee streams we receive from our franchisees and agents that are closely correlated to our aggregate agent count.

The following chart shows our total agent count at the end of the periods indicated:

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

Agent Count:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company-owned regions

 

35,299

 

 

 

33,416

 

(1)

 

25,819

 

(2)

Independent regions

 

21,806

 

 

 

21,075

 

 

 

25,984

 

 

U.S. Total

 

57,105

 

 

 

54,491

 

 

 

51,803

 

 

Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company-owned regions

 

6,261

 

 

 

6,084

 

 

 

6,070

 

 

Independent regions

 

12,779

 

 

 

12,838

 

 

 

12,796

 

 

Canada Total

 

19,040

 

 

 

18,922

 

 

 

18,866

 

 

Outside U.S. and Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company-owned regions

 

328

 

 

 

338

 

 

 

336

 

 

Independent regions

 

21,537

 

 

 

19,477

 

 

 

18,003

 

(3)

Outside U.S. and Canada Total

 

21,865

 

 

 

19,815

 

 

 

18,339

 

 

Total

 

98,010

 

 

 

93,228

 

 

 

89,008

 

 

Net change in agent count compared to the prior period

 

4,782

 

 

 

4,220

 

 

 

1,532

 

 

 

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(1)

As of December 31, 2014 and 2013, U.S. Company-owned Regions include agents in the Southwest and Central Atlantic regions which converted from Independent Regions to Company-owned regions in connection with the acquisitions of the business assets of HBN and Tails on October 7, 2013. As of the acquisition date, the Southwest and Central Atlantic regions had 5,918 agents.  

(2)

As of December 31, 2012, U.S. Company-owned Regions include 4,214 agents in the Texas region which converted from an Independent Region to a Company-owned Region in connection with the acquisition of RE/MAX of Texas on December 31, 2012.

(3)

As of December 31, 2012, Independent Regions outside of the U.S. and Canada include 863 agents in the Australia and New Zealand regions which converted from Company-owned Regions to Independent Regions in connection with the divestiture of the Australia and New Zealand regions during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Franchise Sales. Franchise sales consist of sales of individual office franchises from Company-owned Regions and Independent Regions in the U.S., Canada and in other global markets, as well as regional franchise sales in global markets outside of North America. Regional franchise sales includes master franchise sales, stand-alone regional franchise sales and sub-regional franchise sales. Franchise sales activity enables us to recruit and retain agents and increase agent count and our related recurring fixed fee revenue streams.

The following table shows the number of office franchise sales in the U.S., Canada and outside the U.S. and Canada for the periods indicated:

Office Franchise Sales

For the years ended December 31, 2012, 2013 and 2014

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The following table shows the number of global sub-regional, stand-alone regional and master franchise sales for the periods indicated:

Global Sub-Regional, Stand-Alone Regional and Master Franchise Sales

For the years ended December 31, 2012, 2013 and 2014

 

Revenue. The majority of our revenue is derived from recurring, fixed contractual fees and dues paid by our agents, franchisees and regional franchise owners with a smaller percentage of our revenue being based on transaction activity derived from a percentage of agent commissions.

Adjusted EBITDA. We present Adjusted EBITDA because we believe Adjusted EBITDA is useful as a supplemental measure in evaluating the performance of our business and provides greater transparency into our results of operations. Our management uses Adjusted EBITDA as a factor in evaluating the performance of our business. Our presentation of Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to similarly-titled measures used by other companies. See “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for our definition of Adjusted EBITDA and further discussion of our presentation of Adjusted EBITDA as well as a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income on a consolidated basis and for our reportable segments.

The following table shows our Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margins on a consolidated basis and for our reportable segments for the periods presented:

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

(in thousands, except margin data)

 

Consolidated:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

$

83,805

 

 

$

77,039

 

 

$

66,744

 

Adjusted EBITDA margins

 

49.0

%

 

 

48.5

%

 

 

46.5

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Estate Franchise Services:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

$

83,227

 

 

$

75,490

 

 

$

65,191

 

Adjusted EBITDA margins

 

52.9

%

 

 

52.5

%

 

 

50.6

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brokerages:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

$

578

 

 

$

1,549

 

 

$

1,553

 

Adjusted EBITDA margins

 

4.3

%

 

 

10.4

%

 

 

10.5

%

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We generally experience lower Adjusted EBITDA margins in the first and fourth quarters of the fiscal year primarily due to lower home sale transactions in the residential housing market in the U.S. and Canada, which result in lower broker fees in these quarters. Generally, our margins in the first quarter are lower because of higher selling, operating and administrative expenses incurred in connection with our annual convention and associated with year-end compliance activities. See “Item 1A.—Risk Factors—Our operating results are subject to quarterly fluctuations, and results for any quarter may not necessarily be indicative of the results that may be achieved for the full fiscal year.”

Our Adjusted EBITDA margins result from the high margin Real Estate Franchise Services reportable segment, and are offset slightly by the owned real estate brokerage operations, which have much lower margins due primarily due to higher fixed costs resulting from rent and personnel expenses reflected in our Brokerages reportable segment, which in turn adversely impacts our consolidated margins.

Components of Operating Results

Revenue

We have five revenue streams as demonstrated in the following graph for the periods indicated and as described below.

Percentage of Revenue

 

Continuing Franchise Fees*. In the U.S. and Canada, continuing franchise fees are fixed contractual fees paid monthly by regional franchise owners in Independent Regions, or franchisees in Company-owned Regions, to RE/MAX based on the number of agents in the franchise region or the franchisee’s office. For the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, continuing franchise fees were typically approximately $120 per month per agent. Beginning January 1, 2014, continuing franchise fees increased by $3 per month per agent in our U.S. Company-owned Regions.  In our Company-owned Regions, we receive the entire amount of the continuing franchise fee. In Independent Regions, we generally receive 15%, 20% or 30% of the continuing franchise fee established by the terms of the applicable contract with the Independent Region, which is a fixed rate.

Annual Dues*. Annual dues are the membership fees which agents pay to be a part of the RE/MAX network and leverage the RE/MAX brand, are due on the anniversary date of the agent joining RE/MAX and are recognized ratably over the following twelve-month period. Annual dues revenue may be impacted by the fact that annual dues are deferred and recognized over a twelve-month period from the agent’s anniversary date as well as the related timing of agent losses and agent gains during that period. For the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, annual dues were primarily derived by an annual flat fee of $390 paid directly to us by our U.S. and Canadian agents in their respective local currencies. Beginning January 1, 2014, annual dues increased $10 per agent for our U.S. and Canadian agents and continue to be paid directly to us. Annual dues revenue is driven by the number of agents in our network. We receive 100% of the annual dues fee, regardless of whether the agent is in a Company-owned Region or Independent Region.

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Broker Fees*. Broker fees are assessed to the broker for real estate commissions paid by customers when an agent sells a home. Agents pay a negotiated percentage of these earned commissions to the broker in whose office they work. Broker-owners in turn pay a percentage of the commission to the regional franchisor. Generally the amount paid by broker-owners to the regional franchisor, which we refer to as the “broker fee,” is 1% of the total commission on the transaction. In our Company-owned Regions, we receive the entire amount of the broker fee. In Independent Regions, we generally receive 15%, 20% or 30% of the broker fee established by the terms of the applicable franchise agreement with the Independent Region, which is a fixed rate. The amount of commission collected by franchisees is based primarily on the number of transaction sides, the transaction size and the real estate commissions earned by RE/MAX agents on these transactions. Because there are little incremental variable costs associated with this revenue stream, increased home sales provide us with incremental upside during a real estate market recovery.

Franchise Sales and Other Franchise Revenue. Franchise sales and other franchise revenue is primarily comprised of:

Franchise Sales. Franchise sales revenue consists of revenue from sales and renewals of individual franchises from Company-owned Regions and Independent Regions, as well as regional and country master franchises in global markets outside of North America. We receive only a portion of the revenue from the sales and renewals of individual franchises from Independent Regions.

Other Franchise Revenue. Other franchise revenue includes revenue from preferred marketing arrangements and approved supplier programs with third parties, including mortgage lenders and other real estate service providers, as well as event-based revenue from training and other programs, including our annual convention in the U.S.

Brokerage Revenue. Brokerage revenue principally represents fees assessed by our owned brokerages for services provided to their affiliated real estate agents. We have 21 owned brokerage offices solely in the U.S. that represent less than 1% of the over 3,400 real estate brokerage offices that operate under the RE/MAX brand name in the U.S.

*

We base our continuing franchise fees, annual dues and broker fees outside the U.S. and Canada on generally the same structure as our U.S. and Canadian Independent Regions, but the amount we charge is lower. As a result, revenue earned by us in those regions is substantially lower than in our Independent Regions in the U.S. and Canada.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses include selling, operating and administrative expenses, depreciation and amortization and the gains and losses on sales and disposition of assets. Set forth below is a brief discussion of some of the key operating expenses that impact our results of operations:

Selling, operating and administrative expenses. Selling, operating and administrative expenses primarily consists of personnel costs comprised of salaries, benefits and other compensation expenses paid to our personnel, professional fee expenses, rent and related facility operations expense and other expenses, including costs incurred with becoming a public company, such as directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, directors’ fees, transfer agent fees and other similar expenses, as well as certain marketing and production costs that are not paid by our related party advertising funds, including travel and entertainment costs, costs associated with our annual convention and other events.

Depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense consists of our depreciation expense related to our investments in property and equipment and our amortization of long-lived assets and intangibles, which consists principally of capitalized software, trademarks and franchise agreements. Depreciation and amortization expense may increase as we continue to pursue acquisitions.

Gains and losses on sale and disposition of assets. Gains and losses on sale of assets are recognized when assets are disposed of for amounts greater than or less than their carrying values.

Other Expenses, Net

Other expenses, net include interest expense, interest income, foreign currency transactions gains and losses, losses on the early extinguishment of debt and equity in earnings of investees.