Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What's happening: Shares of Zillow (NASDAQ:ZG) were up 20% as of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday after the company officially closed its acquisition of Trulia (NYSE: TRLA) and elaborated on the deal in a follow-up conference call.
Why it's happening: For perspective, late last week Zillow suggested the acquisition could close "as early as February 17," and promised it would hold a conference call the following day to discuss additional operational and organizational details. Shortly after the market close yesterday, Zillow announced it had completed the acquisition as planned for $2.5 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction.
In this morning's conference call, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff first reminded investors Zillow and Trulia will continue to operate as separate, complementary brands and have already started integration efforts. As part of that process, Zillow eliminated approximately 280 primarily redundant positions yesterday and plans to remove another 70 positions three months from now. As it stands, that brings Zillow's current head count to around 2,000 employees.
Rascoff also pointed out during the Q&A portion that Zillow's contract to receive some MLS data from Listhub -- which gets data directly from the MLS and was acquired by News Corp. through its acquisition of Move late last year -- expires in early April. But Zillow is building out its own services to receive listings directly from the MLS, Rascoff noted, while Trulia has worked for longer to do so and already receives around 125 direct feeds.
Rascoff also said Trulia is a "game changer" for its rental revenue opportunity by adding "massive scale" to its rental lead volume when combined with Zillow's HotPads. In short order, Zillow Group will be integrating listings and advertising for rentals between the two sites to even further extend its market leadership for consumers and value proposition for advertisers.
Those aren't the only synergies Zillow and Trulia share, but for now Zillow anticipates it will be able to lay out more of its operating plans and objectives for the combined companies during its first-quarter earnings call in May. But in the meantime, and given the encouraging updates we've seen so far, it's no surprise the market is bidding up Zillow stock today.