Trulia files for $75 million initial public offering

Online real estate listing company Trulia filed for an initial public offering that is expected to raise as much as $75 million. The company did not specify how many shares it plans to sell or how they will be priced.

The San Francisco-based company will list on the NYSE under the symbol TRLA and hired J.P. Morgan (JPM), Deutsche Bank (DB), RBC Capital Markets, Needham & Co. and William Blair as underwriters for the deal.

One of Trulia’s rivals, Zillow (Z), filed an initial public offering in 2011, raising $69.2 million, with shares priced at $20 a piece. The company’s shares are now trading nearly 80% above their IPO price.

Trulia did not specify how it will use the net proceeds from the IPO in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying only that it intends to use them for “working capital and other general corporate purposes.” It has not entered into any commitments with respect to acquisitions or investments at this time.

Trulia relies on subscriptions purchased by real estate professionals to generate a substantial portion of its revenue. Subscriptions accounted for 32% of revenue in 2009; in the six months ended June 30, they accounted for 68%. Advertising accounts for the remaining percentage.

From 2009 to the six months ended June 30, the company’s average monthly revenue per subscriber grew from $47 to $140. However, it warned as “we continue to optimize our pricing, real estate professionals may not accept these new prices, which may harm our business and growth prospects.”

Since its inception in 2005, Trulia never reported a quarterly or annual profit, and in the six months ended June 30, lost $7.6 million while generating $29 million of revenue. In the first six months of 2011, it lost $2.61 million.

As a public company, Trulia will incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that it did not incur as a private company. “While our revenue has grown in recent periods, this growth may not be sustainable and we may not achieve sufficient revenue to achieve or maintain profitability,” the company said in the SEC filing.

Trulia recently announced that it is revamping its website. The company will no longer list ads for competing agents on featured listings, putting a stop to the flood of complaints from the real estate industry that pushed some realtors to pull their listings entirely.

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