Zillow, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trulia, Inc. (NYSE: TRLA) for $3.5 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction. The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in 2015.
It appears the rumors were in fact true. The reaction so far this morning might be characterized as stunned confusion, leavened with the expected amount of zaterade. For a variety of reasons, including my business relationship with Trulia, I haven’t commented on the rumors. But now that it’s a done deal, and I’ve spoken with both Greg Schwartz, Chief Revenue Officer of Zillow, and Paul Levine, Chief Operating Officer of Trulia, about the deal, I think it’s worth discussing at least a little bit.
At this early stage, however, everything that isn’t directly stated is conjecture. They two companies announced the acquisition; it hasn’t gone through due diligence, the normal amount of litigation, and the long integration process. I’ll do what I can to provide actual information, and then speculate away.
The judge in the non-compete-disguised-as-a-trade-secrets case between Move & NAR v. Zillow & Errol Samuelson has issued a preliminary injunction that looks like a big win for REALTORS and REALTOR-lookalikes. Inman News has the story, and the actual order itself (PDF).
As a an interested bystander, the whole thing is sort of sad. Wish my friends would stop fighting and find ways to coexist. But hey, it’s easy for me to play John Lennon and Imagine a world like that. I’m certain it feels way different for the principals involved.
Some further thoughts and questions follow, as the order was heavily redacted. I assume the reason was to protect the very trade secrets that Move & NAR claim Zillow stole/attempting to steal from them. Nonetheless, there’s quite a lot in the order. We discuss them, after the jump.
[Disclosure: I have a business relationship with Trulia, who is obviously a competitor to both Move and Zillow.]
I’m still on the road, and overly occupied, but the latest news about CRMLS (a former client) is exciting and deserves at least a couple of comments. From Andrea Brambila’s report:
Brokers who belong to the nation’s largest multiple listing service will soon get a capability they’ve long clamored for: the option to upload listing data directly from their own back-end office systems to the MLS.
“We have some very large brokers that would love to have their agents input their listing information into the broker’s system” and then upload it to the MLS, CRMLS CEO Art Carter told Inman News.
Currently, agents must log into the MLS and key in the same listing information separately. Or they can enter listing data into their MLS system first, and the MLS will feed the information back to their broker’s back-end office system.
Yep. While the technology to do this two-way flow has been around for years, CRMLS is making like Lewis & Clark and exploring the wild unknowns here. The rest of the industry will benefit from watching how things unfold. Kudos to Art, his team, and to the CRMLS Board for taking this important step.
Why yes, I made $1.3 billion on Realogy… You want to do what now, NAR?
The Notorious B.O.B.’s series of posts on Move “giving back” REALTOR.com to NAR (one here, one on his blog) plus a Facebook conversation got me thinking. Which results in free consulting advice. Worth exactly what you paid for it, of course.
NAR should take Move private and buy it outright.
It eliminates a lot of problems, while of course, creating some new problems. Hey, that’s life. Let’s get into it.
I’m really, really, really slammed with work so this won’t be as in-depth and searching as I’d like, but I do think it’s important to put down these semi-brief thoughts, so I can figure out what I think about what Zillow’s recent personnel moves means.
Let me not bury the lede. L’Affaire d’Errol et Curt means that Zillow has written off organized real estate as a significant player in the future of the real estate industry.
I have no special insights, haven’t spoken to anyone from Zillow, and I seriously doubt they would agree with such a strong conclusion. But that’s what my tea leaves are saying to me. Commence calling me crazy at your leisure.