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Buffett's real estate brokerage expands into Italy

New York

BERKSHIRE Hathaway's real estate brokerage is pushing into Italy, just a year after making its first overseas venture.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has signed Maggi Group Real Estate, its third global franchisee, the company said on Thursday in a statement.

The business, which operates in northern Italy, expects to expand to Rome within two years.

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Warren Buffett's brokerage network, part of his Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate, now accounts for nearly 50,000 agents, with offices around the United States.

The group began pushing into international markets last year with agreements in London and Berlin.

Gino Blefari, who was promoted to chief executive officer of HomeServices of America in an announcement on Wednesday, has been eyeing other international markets including Paris, Madrid, Mexico City, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

The Italy group will start using the brand Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Maggi Properties in late February and will continue to be run by founder Cesare Maggi.

The group is looking to expand with international clients seeking houses in Milan and Tuscany. BLOOMBERG