Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ:Z), which houses a portfolio of the largest and most vibrant real estate and home-related brands on mobile and Web, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy DotLoop, a Cincinnati-based company that simplifies real estate transactions by enabling brokerages, real estate agents, and their clients to share, edit, sign and store documents digitally. The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2015.
This acquisition is an extension of Zillow Group’s commitment to empowering buyers, sellers and real estate professionals with tools and information to make their lives easier. Everyone involved in a real estate transaction – brokers, agents, homebuyers, sellers, and other participants including lenders and inspectors – wants to streamline what is a lengthy and complex process. DotLoop brings the transaction online, from the creation of a listing agreement to the submission of offers to the actual closing, enabling the process to move much more quickly and easily. Today, real estate agents create more than 300,000 loops (an agent’s online workspace) and nearly half a million people sign real estate documents in DotLoop each month.
“Real estate transactions are already moving online – it’s what home buyers, sellers and real estate professionals want. We’re incredibly excited by DotLoop’s innovation and leadership in making digital transactions a reality,” said Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow Group. “Now we will be able to make their technology more readily available to Zillow Group’s 10,000 broker partners and the agents they represent, as well as our approximately 100,000 real estate agent advertisers, resulting in a smoother and more efficient transaction process for everyone.”
“As we’ve long said, the future of real estate is people-work, not paperwork. That’s why we are committed to removing the friction involved in paper-based real estate transactions,” said Austin Allison, Founder and CEO of DotLoop. “Becoming part of Zillow Group will provide us with new resources to help us grow and expand our business, while we add value to our current customers by offering increased support and faster product development.”
DotLoop, which was founded in 2009, is led by Austin Allison who has been recognized across the real estate industry for his leadership and innovation including winning Inman News 2012 Innovator of the Year, inclusion in Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2012, and being named the 11th most powerful real estate technology executive in the Swanepoel Power 200 Report. Post-close, Austin Allison will continue to lead DotLoop as founder and general manager and will report to Errol Samuelson,Zillow Group’s chief industry development officer.
DotLoop has 124 employees across its Cincinnati headquarters and office in San Francisco. The company previously raised $14 million in funding from Trinity Ventures and angel investors. (Original Source)
Shares of Zillow closed today at $81.96, down $0.72 or 0.87%. Z has a 1-year high of $164.90 and a 1-year low of $76.82. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $86.69 and its 200-day moving average is $98.02.
On the ratings front, Zillow has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on July 20, Barclays analyst Christopher Merwin downgraded Z to Sell, with a price target of $70, which represents a potential downside of 15.2% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on July 15, Morgan Stanley’s Dean Prissman initiated coverage with a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $108.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Christopher Merwin and Dean Prissman have a total average return of -3.3% and 1.5% respectively. Merwin has a success rate of 53.8% and is ranked #3119 out of 3711 analysts, while Prissman has a success rate of 57.1% and is ranked #2405.
The street is mostly Neutral on Z stock. Out of 9 analysts who cover the stock, 5 suggest a Hold rating and 4 recommend to Buy the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $127.60, which represents a potential upside of 54.7% from where the stock is currently trading.
Zillow Group Incoperates the real estate and home-related information marketplaces on mobile and the Web, with a complementary portfolio of brands and products to help people find vital information about homes and connect with local professionals.