Zillow steps up its shopping

Contact: Tejas Venkatesh

After going public in the summer of 2011, real estate website Zillow has gone on an acquisition spree, purchasing five companies for an aggregate value of more than $80m. On Monday, it announced its latest buy: rental search website HotPads for $16m in cash. The San Francisco-based company, which took in just $3m in funding from Meakem Becker Venture Capital, helps Zillow access a younger and more rental-focused audience.

The deal comes just three weeks after Zillow announced the acquisition of mortgage-pricing SaaS provider Mortech for $17.5m. Sensing increased competition, Zillow has picked up the pace of its M&A program, buying three companies in the past two months. (The vendor has been able to cover those purchases, in part, by a well-timed secondary offering in September. It raised more than $150m – twice as much as it landed in its mid-2011 IPO – in early September, selling shares at about $40 each. The stock is now roughly $25.)

Zillow isn’t alone in stepping up its M&A activity. Move Inc, the owner of REALTOR.com, has inked two pickups of real estate websites in the past two months, after being out of the market for more than a year. We wonder now if fellow real estate website Trulia will also go shopping. The company certainly has the money, following its IPO two months ago in which it raised about $100m.