Zillow Inc. is seeking to acquire rival Trulia Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said, in a move to combine the two most-visited U.S. real estate websites. Shares of both companies jumped.
Zillow could value Trulia at as much as $2 billion in a purchase, and an agreement may be announced as soon as next week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Talks between the companies are ongoing and may not lead to a deal.
Zillow rose more than 16 percent to $146.78 a share, giving it a market value of about $5.8 billion as of 2:06 p.m. in New York. Trulia surged 23 percent to $49.91 a share, giving it a market value of $1.8 billion.
The companies help buyers and renters find information on homes, generating revenue by charging realtors to give their listings prominence and by selling advertising. Together Zillow and Trulia had more than 85 million unique visitors in June, accounting for about 89 percent of all traffic to real estate sites, according to data from ComScore.
Katie Curnutte, a spokeswoman for Zillow, declined to comment. Matt Flegal, a spokesman for Trulia, said the company doesn’t comment on speculation.
What this means: Wall Street would LOVE nothing better than to have a huge consolidated PUBLIC real estate site for consumers. Can you imagine the ad potential? (Realtors buy online leads from Zillow and also pay to advertise against their own listings.) I also read somewhere recently, will try to find the source, that Wall Street thinks Zillow, Trulia and the other portals are sucking only a fragment of the $28 billion ad potential they could be. (Where will it come from? Print!) Such a merger would create not just an on-line giant but a mega-media behemoth! Zillow and Trulia sell House Porn as entertainment, and it works! I was at Inman last week in San Francisco and am currently trying to write up all the take-aways, one of which includes Brad Inman’s interview with Zillow Chief Revenue Officer Greg Schwartz.
Zillow already has millions of viewers, like 54 million something uniques per month. A Trulia-Zillow merge could create a monster that could hog 89% or more of online listings