Zillow's Retsly Acquisition to Boost Tech Connect Program

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Online real estate information provider Zillow (Z) has acquired Retsly, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based software start-up formed in 2013. The financial details of the deal were not available.

Retsly provides developers a real-time application programming interface (API) and an open source software development kit that facilitates the incorporation of Multiple Listing Service (:MLS) data for developing software applications used by real estate brokers, agents and MLSs.

The Retsly acquisition is a strategic fit for Zillow’s Tech Connect program launched in Nov 2013. Under the program, technology companies can integrate the Zillow platform to provide enhanced services to agents, brokers and buyers. It is worth noting that the Zillow Tech Connect program has already roped in 25 technology partners.

Apart from acquisitions, Zillow has entered into several partnerships with real estate listing companies and real estate brokers to grow its product portfolio. Zillow’s partnerships with MLSListings Inc. and Douglas Elliman Real Estate have added valuable properties in North California and Los Angeles, New York, Long Island, The Hamptons and South Florida to its online platform.

These in turn will expand Zillow’s network and increase traffic to its site. Per Zillow’s estimates, average monthly unique visitors increased 49% year over year in June.

We believe that the strong growth in traffic, regular property listings and a growing Premier Agent business are the positives, going forward. Moreover, the newly-designed Zillow Real Estate App for Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and iPad and the Zillow Digs app for iPhone should generate higher mobile traffic to the company’s site. Continuing investment in marketing activities will also boost traffic.

On the flip side, these investments will hurt profitability in the near term.  Moreover, fierce competition from the likes of Trulia (TRLA) and Move, Inc. (MOVE) is a headwind, going forward.

Currently, Zillow has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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