Zillow-Trulia deal delayed again

FTC pushes deal until Feb. 15, 2015

Zillow (Z) has agreed to further delay its acquisition of Trulia (TRLA) until at least Feb. 15, 2015, due to continued requests for information from the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC was already reviewing Zillow’s proposed $2.9 billion acquisition of Trulia, its closest competitor in online real estate, over any potential anti-trust violations.

In November, Zillow announced that the deal was pushed back until at least Feb. 1, 2015, per a request from the FTC. But now, the deal is being delayed even further.

According to an 8-K filed by Zillow with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Zillow entered into a second amendment to the timing agreement of the merger on Dec. 26, which pushed the closing date until at least 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on February 15, 2015.

“Neither the Timing Agreement nor the Amended Timing Agreement prevents the parties from consummating the Proposed Transaction sooner if the FTC grants early termination, closes its investigation or accepts for public comment a proposed consent agreement settling the matter,” Zillow said in the SEC filing.

Zillow stated in the filing that both parties (Zillow and Trulia) still anticipate the deal closing in the first half of 2015.

Requests for information from the FTC are common in business dealings of this kind, under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

The transaction, which was announced July 28, 2014, is subject to approval of both companies' stockholders and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, including expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Act.

“Consumers love using Zillow and Trulia to find vital information about homes and connect with the best local real estate professionals,” Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said when the acquisition was originally announced.

“Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships, but it’s still early days in the world of real estate advertising on mobile and Web."

During a conference call on the deal, Rascoff said the real ad potential for the two companies is working to move real estate marketing from offline to online.

"Better agents make for better advertisers," he said, adding agents still spend on mailers and billboards, but the mobile revolution will likely drive them to either Zillow, Trulia or both.

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