In what may well be its final quarterly earnings report as a stand-alone company, online real estate portal Trulia (UNKNOWN:TRLA.DL) handed down its Q3 results. They showed a lot of red ink, although they were more or less in line with estimates. On a more encouraging note, certain metrics grew significantly on a year-over-year basis. Let's take a closer look at the figures.

Widening loss
For the quarter, Trulia's revenue saw a nice 67% leap, to $67 million from Q3 2013's $40 million. Net, however, went in the opposite direction, deepening to a loss of $24 million ($0.64 per share) from the year-ago quarter's $2 million ($0.06) shortfall.

Much of the loss was due to acquisition and restructuring costs; when adjusted for these line items, net loss was nearly $3 million ($0.08 per share) compared to the $9 million ($0.26) profit of last year's Q3.

That $0.08 per-share deficit matched analyst expectations for the quarter. The revenue figure, however, fell a bit short of projections that anticipated just under $70 million.

As for future quarters, Trulia showed an empty house. Due to its pending acquisition by soon-to-be-ex rival Zillow (NASDAQ:ZG), a real estate portal with a similar profile, the company did not release any estimates for coming periods.

The new deed holder
Those slightly worse-than-expected results are probably not a huge point of concern for Zillow. That's because the company is patiently waiting at the door for Federal Trade Commission approval of its buyout (the FTC is being rather cautious, as the acquisition was first announced back in July).

Besides, red ink is par for the course of relatively early stage tech companies, which is essentially what both firms are. Likely more important to Zillow is growth at Trulia, and the latter firm delivered some encouraging numbers in that respect.

Outside of the mentioned revenue improvement, there was also notable growth in terms of monthly unique visitors -- a key statistic in the Internet sphere. This figure advanced a robust 36% on a year-over-year basis to land at 55 million. Better, the company's offerings seem to be translating well to devices, with mobile monthly unique visitors rising a chunky 89% to nearly 30 million.

All told, as of the end of Q3, the total number of Trulia's subscribers was roughly 77,900, up from the 74,000 of the previous quarter. On average, the monthly revenue from those folks was $204, comparing favorably to the $189 of Q3 2013.

Lastly, in its earnings release Trulia touted its signing up of new industry partners, companies that are well spread across the country. There's the Midwest's Edina Realty, a prominent regional player and a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, the 10,000 member-strong New York State Multiple Listing Service, and Oregon/Idaho lister Intermountain MLS.

Handing over the keys
It's safe to say that both Trulia and Zillow investors are more concerned these days with the progress of the merger. After all, it’s a big one – Trulia’s current market capitalization is $1.7 billion. Its stockholders are to receive 0.44 shares of Zillow for each share of Trulia they own. Following the merger, Zillow will hold an estimated 67% of its new asset.

Although Trulia's shares were down by about 7% in after-hours trading following the earnings announcement, the Q3 results may not be a strong driver of the stock going forward. That's going to hinge on the FTC's ruling on the merger ... whenever it's handed down.


Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Zillow. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.