Real estate media giant Zillow Group just posted fourth-quarter revenue of $169.4 million, up 7 percent over the same quarter last year and exceeding the expectations of analysts polled in advance.
However, the company’s profits fell short of expectations, after taking an $8.1 million hit due to costs from ongoing litigation with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which in 2014 acquired Move Inc., one of Zillow’s longtime rivals.
For the fourth quarter, the company posted a net loss of $25.7 million, or a loss of 14 cents per share, compared to a profit of 9 cents a share in the same quarter a year ago. Analysts polled in advance expected a profit of 1 cent/share for the quarter.
“Last year was a strategically exciting one for Zillow Group,” said Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff in a news release announcing the results. “Through our acquisition of Trulia, we formed the largest real estate media company in the world and have now established the foundation for our long-term growth and category leadership.”
Zillow Group’s quarterly adjusted EBIDTA (earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortization) were $20.4 million, including the $8.1 million impact of the litigation. That compared to expectations of $23.96 million among analysts polled in advance by Thomson Reuters. The suit stems from a dispute over a former Move executive, Errol Samuelson, who was hired by Zillow. Move alleges that Zillow was able to access its trade secrets through the hire, which Zillow disputes.
Zillow Group’s quarterly revenue was boosted by a 14 percent increase in marketplace revenue, to $148.3 million; a 27 percent increase in real estate revenue, to $136.6 million; and a 48 percent increase in mortgages revenue, to $11.7 million.
Update: Zillow Group shares fell more than 10 percent in after-hours trading, to $17.10.