Not only are both online real estate companies now publicly traded, but Zillow has fired a couple of heavy shots across the bow of Trulia. In September, Zillow sued Trulia for patent infringement over its automated home valuation tool. That was followed this week when Zillow purchased the company that powers Trulia’s online mortgage center.
In a conference call Wednesday, Trulia CEO Pete Flint noted that the acquisition would not have a material impact on the business and that they had intended from the beginning to work with multiple partners.
This is one serious rivalry.
In their third quarter earnings calls this week, both Trulia and Zillow execs laid out the case as to why they believe they’ll come out on top in the real estate biz. Investors, at least this week, preferred the Trulia story. Zillow lost more than a quarter of its value after investors expressed concerns that display advertising revenues slowed.
Zillow still has performed far better since its July 2011 IPO, but there’s not as much distance between the two companies as there once was. Zillow’s market cap now stands at $799 million to Trulia’s $566 million. Furthermore, Zillow’s stock has falling since Trulia went public (as the chart below shows).
Wall Street valuations don’t always tell the full story. So, who is doing better? Here’s a look at some of the key metrics for both companies from their respective third quarter reports.
Zillow remains the bigger of the two companies in terms of revenue, but Trulia is growing faster. Trulia’s revenues came in at $18.5 million, a 76 percent growth rate compared to the third quarter of last year. That compares to revenues of $31.9 million, a 67 percent growth rate, for Zillow.
Cash is king as they say, and in this category Zillow maintains a lead. Its cash and cash equivalents came in at $188 million at the end of the third quarter, compared to Trulia’s $101 million. Zillow has been using its war chest to gobble up other players in the real estate industry, making five acquisitions in the past two years. “The nice thing about this category is that it has essentially been bereft of an acquirer for the last 10 to 15 years,” Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff told GeekWire this week. “Zillow benefits from a pretty greenfield opportunity here in terms of M&A.”
Profits and losses
Pretty simple story here. Zillow showed net income of $2.3 million for the quarter, compared to a net loss of $1.7 million for Trulia.
Zillow retains the edge on traffic. Average monthly unique users on mobile and Web grew to 36.1 million in the third quarter. Trulia’s count for the period came in at just under 25 million. Both companies are growing traffic at about 50 percent year-over-year.