It’s never easy bringing together two large corporate titans — especially when those juggernauts have battled and fought over the years.
Egos and personalities can get in the way, torpedoing even the best intentions.
That’s the challenge facing Zillow and Trulia now that they’ve officially consummated their $2.5 billion stock-for-stock transaction — a deal that gives Zillow shareholders two-thirds of the new company and Trulia shareholders one-third.
In a column earlier today, I mentioned the cultural challenges that Zillow will face in acquiring Trulia, a 1,100-person company that Zillow famously sued in 2012 for patent infringement.
The cultural challenge certainly goes beyond the respective headquarters, with Zillow based in Seattle and Trulia based in San Francisco.
For what it’s worth, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff is not anticipating many big cultural rifts, especially since he’s spent the past seven months getting to know the Trulia culture and many of its employees.
As far as he sees it, the two online real estate companies share plenty in common.
“The companies’ cultures are actually quite similar,” Rascoff told GeekWire in an interview today. “Specifically, they are consumer-oriented, so every major decision at Trulia and every major decision at Zillow starts with and ends with an eye towards the consumer, so we are completely aligned in that regard.”
He also said that Zillow and Trulia employees share common characteristics, citing these traits: smart, ambitious, competitive, hard-charging, team-oriented, data drive, ethical and fun.
“There is no question that corporate culture is of risk when doing deals this large, but I think in this case the risk is mitigated by the similarities between the two cultures,” he said.
Citing a GeekWire post from the day that the acquisition was first announced, Rascoff compared the rivalry to the one shared between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
“I think that analogy still holds very well. It is almost like a professional athlete that has been playing on one team for a long time and always respects another team and another coach, and now they are put on another team and they can still perform at a high level … and contribute — even in spite of a historical rivalry,” he said.