US real estate site Zillow in $2-bn bid for rival Trulia: Reports

Two of the most popular real estate sites in the US,  Zillow and Trulia might combine in a move that would see the emergence of an online colossus in a tradition-bound industry disrupted by massive technology change in recent years, San Jose Mercury News reported.

Bloomberg reported citing sourcesthat Seattle-based Zillow, the leading online site by users, could pay as much as $2bn for San Francisco-based Trulia, the second most popular site.

Both sites had introduced radical changes to the home-buying process. Trulia featured an easy-to-use app that allowed potential buyers to shop on their mobile phones, while Zillow had the best-known way for homeowners and other interested individuals to get an estimate of a home's worth.

However, some in the industry worry that the combination would stifle competition that could harm consumers.

According to Comscore the merged entity would have over 80 million unique visitors and around 90 per cent of the market.

Trulia's shares shot over 32 per cent or $13.16 a share on the report, while shares of Zillow increased over 15 per cent or $19.29 a share at the close of the market.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying that if the talks did not fall apart, a deal could be announced as soon as next week. No further details of the deal were available, though, according to one of the sources, the merger, if it happened, would value Trulia at about $2 billion.

The first quarter of 2014, saw Zillow post record $66.2 million earnings in revenue, on a 70-per cent year-on-year growth. Trulia's first quarter revenue increased 127 per cent from a year earlier to $54.5 million.

Both Zillow and Trulia reported unique website traffic of 79 million and 44.6 million respectively in the first quarter, with the traffic on both websites mostly coming from mobile devices.

According to a recent traffic analysis by ComScore, Zillow received 53.8 million unique visitors in May 2014 alone and Trulia got 30.8 million unique visits everyday.