GILFORD — After more than four decades as a mainstay of the real estate business in the Lakes Region, Florence Cummins Real Estate has merged, allying itself with one of the most hallowed brands in the world of commerce.

Margherita Verani and Giovani Veranii, chief executive officer and president respectively of Berkshire Hathaway Verani Realty of Londonderry announced the merger with Florence Cummins Realty yesterday. Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, whose chairman and chief executive officer, Warren Buffett, is among the most revered — and wealthiest — figures in the world of business.

In a prepared statement Susan Cummins-Harris, principal owner of Florance Cummins Real Estate, said that she "recognized the need to explore new opportunities to help expand the business." The merger, she explained, will provide the firm with advanced technology and marketing systems that will enable it to broaden its reach to national and international markets. "I believe we have chosen the best operational systems with the best real estate firm in New Hampshire," Cummins-Harris said.

The merger marks the Verani's second foray into the Lakes Region is as many years. Last year the company merged with Exit Lakeside Realty with offices in Laconia and Tilton.

Founded in 1967, Verani Realty became a franchisee of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in December. In 1998 Berkshire Hathaway acquired Mid American Energy Holdings Company and with it Home Services, a real estate brokerage. Later Buffett remarked that he "barely norticed" he had entered the real estate business. In January this year, 16 years after acquiring HomeServices, the firm was blessed with the Berkshire Hathaway brand, which some market watchers took to signal Buffett's growing confidence in recovering property markets.

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