3 top exits of the week: real estate and travel in the spotlight

In another bright week for the tech acquisitions space, property-based technologies have come out of the shadows. Although 2014 has so far been dominated by FinTech, EduTech and device-based services, real estate platforms are beginning to make a play for market share in a sign that the industry is beginning to reach maturity. Underlining this consolidation is Zillow’s $3.5 billion acquisition of rival Trulio, which is to create one of the world’s largest online real estate groups. In the same segment, Melbourne-based REA Group has paid for a minority stake in online real-estate lister iProperty. Meanwhile, travel major Trip Advisor purchased online tours and activities booking agency Viator.

Real estate giant created  

Zillow is to pay $3.5 billion in stock for its competitor Trulia to create an online real estate colossus. The two companies will remain separate brands and the deal is expected to close sometime next year. Zillow and Trulia expect the combined company to save $100 million in costs by 2015. The two companies also claim the user base overlap is small, with two thirds of Zillow’s users not using Trulia and half of Trulia’s users do not use Zillow. The company will look to take advantage of resurging global property markets, as some locations are even entering a property bubble.

Australian property firm expanding into Asian market

Melbourne-based REA Group is paying $100 million for 17.2% of online real-estate lister iProperty. iProperty is active in Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore. The acquisition gives the Australian company a strong foothold in the fast growing South-East Asian market. City states and high-density urban areas are providing lucrative areas of operations as local consumers are increasingly coming online to find and purchase real estate as opposed to offline points. REA says it is now seeking board representation.

Trip Advisor continues segment takeover

Trip Advisor has purchased online tours and activities booking agency Viator in a deal worth $200 million. Based in San Francisco, Viator is a website operated by travel insiders that curates the best local tours and activities. It claims to have more than 20,000 bookable tours and 600,000 reviews submitted by travellers, spanning more than 1,500 destinations. It is available in 10 languages and supports 10 currencies. In the past 12 months, TripAdvisor has nabbed several companies, including La Fourchette, a restaurant mobile booking site, Tripbod a B2C local services site, Vacation Home Rentals, and Oyster.com, a hotels review site. The travel major is clearly planning on becoming the dominant player in the online booking sphere, with an eye on expanding to lucrative emerging markets.

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