According to a Benzinga report citing an unnamed source, San Francisco-based Trulia could be angling to buy Move Inc. for as much as $18 per share.
Shares of Move — operator of Realtor.com — soared nearly eight percent on the news today. It now is trading at $14.98, giving the company a value of $592 million. An $18 per share price would value Move at $712 million, certainly the biggest acquisition in Trulia’s history.
Trulia’s market cap, by comparison, now stands at $1.66 billion. As we reported earlier today, Zillow’s market value now stands at $5.22 billion, making it the behemoth in the industry on par with Realogy Holdings.
An acquisition of Move by Trulia could be especially interesting given the changing dynamics in the online real estate market. There’s certainly no love lost between Trulia and Zillow, nor between Move and Zillow.
Earlier this year, Move’s Errol Samuelson jumped to Zillow as chief industry development officer, prompting a lawsuit by Move against both Zillow and Samuelson. Meanwhile, Trulia and Zillow have regularly sparred over the years.
Inman News reports that consolidation is likely in the online real estate industry, noting that Canaccord Genuity recently cited even the possibility of a merger between Zillow and Trulia.
That proposition seems less than likely given the histories of Zillow and Trulia, and the similar overlap in what both companies offer.
But a tie-up between Trulia and Move could make more sense given the old adage: “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.”
Through an acquisition of Move Inc., Trulia could bolster its listing data, competing more aggressively against Zillow. It would also pick up about 20 million monthly unique visitors from Move, adding to its total of more than 50 million.
That would put the company more in the ballpark of Zillow, which recently topped 80 million monthly visitors. Move Inc. also operates sites such as Moving.com, SeniorHousingNet.com, HomeFair and ListHub.
Move’s stock has slumped so far this year, down about six percent.
One question remains: Does Trulia have enough bandwidth and capital to expend on yet another big acquisition?
Trulia, which lost last quarter $5.3 million during the first quarter, finished March with $220 million in cash and cash equivalents.