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Trulia Rolls Out Welcome Mat for Real Estate Pros

By Enid Burns
May 10, 2013 5:00 AM PT

In a move to bolster its offerings for the real estate market, Trulia said this week that it would acquire Market Leader, a Software as a Service-based CRM company targeting agents and brokers. The acquisition, expected to close in the fall, will provide Trulia with tools to help real estate professionals manage and track leads.

Trulia Rolls Out Welcome Mat for Real Estate Pros

As part of the deal, Trulia -- an online real estate marketplace -- will pay approximately US$355 million for Market Leader, based on Trulia's price of $11.33 per share as of market close on Tuesday. Market Leader shareholders will receive $6 in cash plus 0.153 shares of Trulia's common stock at the time the deal closes.

In its first quarter earnings reported on April 30, Trulia reported $24 million in revenues, a 97 percent year-over-year gain. The site reported 31.4 million monthly unique visitors during the first quarter.

Once the acquisition goes through, the merged company will have approximately 46,000 premium subscribers. It will enhance Trulia's platform to provide more abilities to manage relationships thanks to Market Leader's cloud-based CRM solution.

CRM for the Real Estate Market

Market Leader's software suite will give Trulia a better way to connect customers to real estate listings and the ability to track those activities.

"We currently offer lightweight CRM tools," Trulia spokesperson Ken Shuman told CRM Buyer.

Trulia will grow its subscriber base with some influential clients, as well as provide deeper offerings for its existing subscriber base.

"Market Leader, I believe, has tens of thousands of clients including some high profile names like Century 21. So teaming up with Market Leader should increase Trulia's footprint in the real estate market," analyst Charles King of Pund-IT told CRM Buyer. "And for a company looking for ways to drive revenues and build a service model online, it's potentially a very important and valuable acquisition for them."

Real Estate Positioning

Trulia is up against several competitors that serve the technology needs of the real estate industry. Its biggest competitor, Zillow, has acquired four companies in the past year including HotPads, Mortech, Buyfolio and RentJuice. The Market Leader acquisition will build on Trulia's pursuit of brokers and real estate agents, while still keeping resources for home buyers.

"We will become the leader in the space," said Shuman. "We will be able to offer the most complete end-to-end solution to franchisors, brokerages and agents."

It's too early to share specifics about how Market Leader will be integrated into Trulia's platform. "We will start integration planning soon, but nothing can happen until the deal closes in early fall," Shuman said.

"It clearly gives them a positional advantage," Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group, told CRM Buyer. "It makes them a one-stop shop, having that type of breadth. It should make them strategically quite a bit stronger."

Trulia, Market Leader, Zillow and other sites have transformed the real estate industry with technology integration.

"They're both interesting companies, but I do think that they are great examples of the way that the Internet can serve to improve and really enhance the service in traditional industries that one might not really think of as being focused on the online world," said King. "The availability of both free and paid services from Trulia and Zillow, I think, really drive innovation in the real estate market."

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