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Coldwell's Mancuso grabs share

Betting on real estate recovery, Coldwell Banker's Bucks-Allentown franchisee, Frank Mancuso,buys its Philadelphia-Montco unit, creating a billion-dollar agency.

Coldwell Banker Hearthside, which sells homes in Bucks County and the Allentown area owned by Frank M. Mancuso, says it's bought a controlling stake in Coldwell Banker Diamond, which covers Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, from David L. Specht.

Mancuso insisted in a statement that the local home sales business is recovering, and said "now is the perfect time" for him to buy more capacity. He won't say what he paid for Diamond.

Hearthside sales totalled $650 million last year, compared to $400 million for Diamond, said Hearthside spokesman Chris Beadling. Combined, they’ll employ 600, in 23 offices.

Both are franchises of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, a national chain that collects a little over 2 percent of each 6 percent real estate transaction fee.

Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and ERA are among brands owned by Realogy Corp., a Parsippany, NJ company that was bought by New York private equity manager Apollo Management LP for $6.6 billion last year.